The Top 10 Glass Architecture Developments In The World!

The ultimate list and breakdown of some of the world’s most impressive glass architecture developments.

With glass being such a desirable architectural feature, glass architecture is evolving and allowing for more incredible facades, shapes and colours to be manufactured and installed across the world. Having such an energy efficient material that also looks sleek and modern is hard to come by, here are our picks for the top 10 glass architecture developments in the world!

#10: The Crystal Cathedral

glass architecture, crystal cathedral

Location: California, USA

Opened: 1980

Cost: £15,000,000

Architect(s): Philip Johnson, John Burgee

The Crystal Cathedral was way ahead of its time, being designed and constructed in the 1980s to create a “religious theatre” in the heart of California. The building features an extensive glass facade with opening vents to improve air-flow and ventilation. The building also has hinged opening glass cladded doors that are over 90ft tall, these doors open directly into the parking area for easy access into the glass building.

Just beside the main church structure is a vast glass spire which has been designed to look like a geometric church tower, supported by a steel frame at over 120ft tall. The spire allows for visitors to walk underneath the structure, which creates a “larger than life” effect.


#9: Aros Aarhus Museum

aros aahus glass architecture

Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Opened: 2011

Cost: £9,000,000

Architect(s): Schmidt Hammer Lassen

The Aros Aarhus Museum is a historic art museum in Denmark that in 2011, had an extensive renovation which included the addition of a unique walkway experience in the shape of a rooftop, rainbow, panoramic walk-around. This experience is totally unique and allows for visitors to explore the visual differences between a variety of coloured glass panes which change the way the surrounding city looks. Thanks to the installation of LED lights, the rooftop walk can also be enjoyed at night, which changes the vibe and views from the walkway.


#8: Harpan

harpan glass architecture

Location: Reykjavík, Iceland

Opened: 2011

Cost: £143,000,000

Architect(s): Henning Larsen Architects

The Harpan is one of the world’s most famous theatre and performance spaces, which was built in 2011. The building is essentially a vast glass box with a full glass facade encasing the interior. The exterior steel structure gives the appearance of fish scales due to the large inspiration from the Icelandic fishing culture.

The glazing has also been slightly tinted to match the grey/blue tones of the Icelandic landscape. As well as the darker tints, the occasional glass pane has been tinted either green, blue or pink to create the fish scale effect.


#7: Bombay Sapphire Distillery

bombay sapphire distillery glass architecture

Location: Basingstoke, England

Opened: 2014

Cost: Not Specified

Architect(s): Heatherwick Studio

The glasshouses, which were constructed from 893 distinct curved pieces of glass, instantly gained notoriety. Bombay Sapphire’s 10 botanicals may be grown in the ideal settings, one of which is temperate and the other tropical. Both make use of the extra heat produced during distillation.

The distillery process buildings received the first BREEAM excellent grade for renovation and were the first drinks industry facility in the world.


#6: Emporia Shopping Centre


Location: Malmö, Sweden

Opened: 2012

Cost: £148,000,000

Architect(s): Gert Wingardh

The goal of this brand-new mixed-use development in Malmö, Sweden, was to draw commuters from the nearby train station to the planned mall, supermarket, office tower and residential complex.

On the street elevation, rectangular glass panels in orthogonal frames give way to a diamond arrangement in the Amber Entrance and the Blue Sea Entrance. The diamond shapes adhere to the intricately curved form, unlike triangulated surfaces where three points form a plane.


#5: The Glasshouse (Formerly known as The Sage)

the sage

Location: Newcastle, England

Opened: 2004

Cost: £350,000,000

Architect(s): HOK

 The Sage is a stunning glass building. As a result, it is among the most well-known structures in the North of England. On the south bank of the Tyne river, The Sage serves as a venue for concerts and modern music. Additionally, the Sage has two sizable internal venues with capacities of 1,640 and 600, respectively, called “Sage 1” and “Sage 2.”

The Sage’s major structural elements are curved glass and steel. The Sage is actually made up of three distinct buildings that are enclosed within an immense curved glass and steel dome. By isolating and soundproofing them from one another, they can prevent sound or vibrations from contaminating another location.


#4: The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe)

the gherkin

Location: London, England

Opened: 2004

Cost: £138,000,000

Architect(s): Norman Foster, Arup Group

It is 41 stories tall and offers 46,400 square metres of net office space in addition to an arcade of stores and cafés that can be accessible from a recently formed piazza. A club area with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city is located at the summit.

The building, which has a circular plan and radial geometry, widens in profile as it rises and narrows near its pinnacle. The structure seems more thin than a rectangular block of equal size, and the narrowing of its profile towards the base maximises the public realm at street level.


#3: National Centre for the Performing Arts


Location: Beijing, China

Opened: 2007

Cost: £261,000,000

Architect(s): Paul Andreu

The centre is a curved structure with a 149,500 square metre total surface area that seems as an island in the middle of a lake. With a maximum span of 213 metres, a minimum span of 144 metres, and a height of 46 metres, the titanium shell is shaped like a super ellipsoid. A 100-meter-wide glass covering with a curved shape at the base divides it in half.

Light enters the building during the day through the glass roof. The motions within can be observed from the outside at night. The structure has three performing auditoriums: an opera house with 2,416 seats, a concert hall with 2,017 seats, and a theatre with 1,040 seats.


#2: W Hotel

w barcelona

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Opened: 2009

Cost: £200,000,000

Architect(s): Ricardo Bofill

The W Hotel in Barcelona, sometimes referred to as the “Sail Hotel” because of its similarity to a ship’s sail. The beautiful structure is the perfect place for the 26-story, 5-star hotel, which has 473 rooms and 57 suites. The magnificent glass building is therefore 324 feet (98.8 metres) tall.

The W Barcelona Hotel was built by one of the leading architects of our time, locally recognised Ricardo Bofill. Perhaps appropriately, the hotel is situated close to the city’s famous promenade, a well-liked tourist site, at the port’s entry in Barcelona.


#1: Burj Khalifa

burj khalifa

Location: Dubai, UAE

Opened: 2010

Cost: £1.2 Billion

Architect(s): Adrian Smith, George Efstathiou, Marshall Strabala

The Burj Khalifa is an architectural marvel that has taken the crown for the world’s tallest building since 2010. The building is over 120 stories tall, with architectural glazing cladding the exterior from top to bottom.

Not only is the building used as a hotel, accommodation and office space, It is often used for marketing stunts, such as when Red Bull placed a Formula 1 car on the helipad and performed drifts for the upcoming Formula 1 season.

The Burj Khalifa underwent a rigorous testing process that including heavy wind resistance testing due to the scale of the building. This was a pivotal moment for the architectural scope of the project.

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Taylor Hall-Jones

After completing his A-Levels in Business, Graphic Design and History, Taylor took his interest in both the world of business and graphic design into marketing. He gained his first full-time working role as a Digital Marketing Assistant at IQ Glass and is continuing to develop his skills.

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