Explorations in Glass: Masterclass by MVRDV at SHARE WARSAW 2016

The masterclass will be held by arch. Gijs Rikken from MVRDV and Faidra Oikonomopoulou, PhD Researcher in Structural Glass, Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft, The Netherlands

The event is organized on 11th October, at Warsaw Marriott Hotel, within SHARE Warsaw 2016 International Architecture Forum.

Crystal Houses, conceptualised by MVRDV, was developed and constructed as part of a multi-team collaboration including Gietermans & Van Dijk Architects, Delft University of Technology, Brouwer & Kok engineers, ABT consulting engineers, Poesia (brand of Vetreria Resanese) glass manufacturers from Italy and contractor Wessels Zeist.

Architect Gijs Rikken from MVRDV will speak on the making of Crystal Houses in Amsterdam he has worked in together with star architect Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, to bring a poetic innovation in glass construction.

Faidra Oikonomopoulou has been involved in the study of the Crystal Houses façade from the initial stages of the project as the leading PhD researcher for the development of the novel glass brick wall and also supervised on site the entire construction of the Crystal Houses façade as quality-control engineer.

About the project

The Crystal Houses façade is a transparent reproduction of the previous 19th century masonry elevation, entirely made of adhesively bonded solid glass bricks.

Crystal Houses is an exploration into reimagining the possible uses of glass in construction. The entirely transparent façade of a high-end flagship store on Amsterdam’s upmarket shopping street, PC Hooftstraat, uses glass bricks, glass windows frames and glass architraves in a way to evoke the vernacular of the area with the goal to maintain the character of the site. Despite its delicate looks, strength tests by the Delft University of Technology team proved that the glass-construction is in many ways stronger than concrete.

The challenges called for novel solutions, which include the manufacturing of glass elements of extreme dimensional precision, the development of methods for the accurate measuring and systematic levelling of the façade and the development of customized bonding techniques to attain purely transparent and flawless connections.

About the guest speaker Gijs Rikken

Gijs Rikken is a project leader at MVRDV architects. Excursions into materiality and detail have been on his personal agenda since he started there in 2007 and remain a large part of his work today. During the last decade, he was responsible for projects such as the Balancing Barn, the Glass Farm, the Sky Vault Penthouse and, more recently, the Crystal Houses. He is currently working on Ravel Plaza, a 75.000m2 mixed use building in Amsterdam.

Gijs Rikken has won awards with the project Balancing Barn such as:

– Red Dot Award 2011, Cologne, DE – 2011
– RIBA Regional Award Nominations – 2011
– Nominated for Brit Insurance Awards 2011, London, UK – 2011
– Winner public vote 2011, RIBA Manser Medal, London, UK – 2011

The new Crystal Houses was already shortlisted in ’Shopping’ category World Architecture Festival, 2016.

About the guest speaker Faidra Oikonomopoulou

Faidra Oikonomopoulou, Researcher and Lecturer in the Research Group of Structural Mechanics of the Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft, The Netherlands is holding a MSc diploma in both Architecture (N.T.U.A.) and Building Technology (TU Delft). Her research focuses on innovative structural applications of glass in architecture and on the design of all-glass load-bearing structures and components.

During the entire construction of the Crystal Houses façade, Faidra Oikonomopoulou assembled and tested several prototypes of wall fractions to explore its structural and visual performance and provided novel solutions to answer the challenges coming from the very high level of transparency and dimensional accuracy required. She is further involved in research projects such as ‘An all-glass column’, ‘Restoration of historic monuments by glass’ and ‘Innovative joints for large glass structures’.

AWARDS OF MVRDV (*selection):
-BNA Building of the Year Category Winner (May 2016) – ‘The Couch’ Tennis Club IJburg
-European Innovation Award (February 2016) – Markthal, Rotterdam
-Rotterdam Architecture Award (December 2015) – Markthal, Rotterdam
-Espa Gold Award for Best parking garage (November 2015) – Markthal, Rotterdam
-Norwegian Steel Construction Prize (November 2015) – DNB Headquarters, Oslo
-Neprom Prize for Urban Development (April 2015) – Markthal and surrounding Laurens Quarter, Rotterdam
-MIPIM Award Best Shopping Center (2015) – Markthal, Rotterdam
-Glass Award (November 2014) – Glass Farm, Schijndel
-Graydon Award for Financial Stability (July 2014) – MVRDV, Rotterdam