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July 8, 2009, 9:50 pm

Building with glass

It sounds unlikely that glass could be used for constructing buildings, but that is exactly what architects have done, with dizzying effect!

[New York Times]

What was done?

'The Ledge' of the 103rd floor of the Sears building in Chicago has been constructed out of glass, bolted with stainless steel.

The effect?  An amazing view down of the street, a quarter of a mile below... (a dizzying height!)

How?

Glass can be made of different molecules, giving it slightly different properties, but keeping its transparent properties.

The Physics of glass is discussed at length here 

Why is it important?

Glass can be used in many buildings to improve light and reduce the cost of artificial lighting.

Its use in stairways gives a striking modern design.

But sometimes, glass could be a disadvantage in building construction - can you think of circumstances when it would not be a good material to use, and why? 

Action:

Wondering what it feels like to climb a glass staircase?  Watch this video!