Like concrete, glass as a building material can trace its origins to the Roman Empire. Evidence collected from 1st century villas in Pompeii and Rome itself point to the presence of rudimentary glass windows. During the ensuing centuries the quality of glass being made gradually improved and its use spread throughout Europe. Today glass is considered one of the materials that distinguishes the modern age from preceding eras. Soaring glass skyscrapers rise in every corner of the globe and interior design has embraced glass as a means of freeing the office environment from its staid legacy. In this post we’ll look at glass as a building material and how glass partition walls have transformed the contemporary American office.
Glass as a Vital Building Material
Before we get into the many benefits of glass partition walls let’s take a look at glass as a building material. Glass is highly prized for a number of reasons including:
- Flexibility: Glass can be molded into any shape a designer or architect can imagine. It can be pressed, blown or drawn, clear, tinted, etched and stained. No other architectural building material possesses the practical and design flexibility of glass.
- Transparency: Of course the one thing that separates glass from any other building material is its transparency. This transparency can then be taken advantage of and even altered in a variety of ways depending on the needs and wants of the customer.
- Strength: Glass is often thought of as the most fragile of materials but tempered glass and glass with certain types of admixtures and laminates can be incredibly strong. Perhaps the most obvious example being bullet-proof glass that will stop a bullet in its tracks.
- Insulation value: Double and even triple pane windows can prevent unwanted heat from entering during the summer and valuable heat from escaping during the winter. The low-emissive coating used to achieve this also acts as an effective sound control barrier.
We could go on at length about the many benefits of glass as a building material but there isn’t room here to list all of its positive properties. Now we’re going to move on to how glass partitions have changed the office environment forever.
Glass Partition Walls: The Triumph of Transparency
In the typical office of your father’s day walls were fixed and opaque and natural light was reserved for executives whose offices gobbled up the windows along the floor’s periphery. The energy shocks of the 70s were the first indications that the future would require a more innovative approach to office design and the breaking down of trade barriers was perhaps the final nail in the coffin of the dark, static office. Here are some ways glass partition walls answered the call of the new business reality in the USA.
- Light: The contemporary office is all about productivity and few things elevate the morale of staff so they can work to their potential like natural light. Executive offices can still contain the prime windows but since those offices are composed of glass partitions the light is free to penetrate the rest of the floor and be enjoyed by everyone.
- Trust: Studies have shown that fixed, opaque walls tend to generate distrust and the more solid, opaque walls the greater the level of distrust. While it’s difficult to prove that glass by itself creates honesty glass partitions do create a sense of openness and encourage trust and collaboration.
- Environmental responsibility: Glass is 100% recyclable and the glass partitions in your office were likely fabricated from previously recycled glass. Contrast that to drywall which requires primary resources to create and winds up contributing to the USA landfill crisis when you’re done with it.
- Energy efficiency: An open office composed of generous numbers of glass partition walls will drastically reduce the need for expensive artificial lighting. It will also allow warm sunlight to penetrate the space during the frigid days of January and February. In addition a more open office plan will allow for more efficient air circulation further reducing your energy bills.
- Enhanced communication: Being able to see if someone is busy before barging into their office is a big advantage. Also, glass partitions have contributed to a revival in nonverbal communication within the office that has been shown to reduce the number of emails between staffers.
- Looks: Let’s face it one of the most obvious attributes of glass partitions is how truly fabulous they look. They can transform your office from a dark, uninspiring inertia-factory into a dynamic growth engine while retaining a beauty and elegance that was previously unattainable with simple drywall or plaster.
Glass has become a staple of modern architecture and interior design for all the above reasons and more. Talk to the professionals at I-M-T to find out how glass partition walls can make your business more profitable and competitive.