Interlocking cast glass components

Main principles


  • Faidra Oikonomopoulou TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment



In this chapter a novel, reversible all-glass system consisting of dry-assembly, interlocking cast glass components is introduced that can tackle the irreversibility, strict tolerances and meticulous construction process of the adhesively bonded system presented in Chapters 5 and 6. Thanks to the interlocking geometry, the proposed system can attain the desired stiffness with the aid of minimal, if any, metal framing. The integrity and structural stability of the assembly is provided by the shape and the arrangement of the blocks themselves. The use of adhesives is obviated in the system by employing a dry, colourless interlayer as an intermediate medium between the glass components. The deformation of the interlayer can compensate for surface asperities and dimensional tolerances, allowing for an even stress distribution. Moreover, the dry-assembly enables the structure to be dis- and reassembled, which is critical for a circular economy in the built environment. Accordingly, this chapter lists the key considerations and establishes the design criteria for the development of interlocking cast glass structures. Based on the established criteria, various component geometries, forms and interlocking mechanisms are developed. The interlocking forms are kiln cast in 1:2 scale and are comparatively assessed in terms of mechanical interlocking capacity, mass distribution, residual stress generation and ease of fabrication. In parallel, a literature research is conducted on different materials for the dry, transparent interlayer, concluding that interlayers of the polyurethane family (PU and TPU) present the highest potential for a building application. From the developed designs, osteomorphic blocks are selected as the most promising concept to be further investigated.

Author Biography

Faidra Oikonomopoulou, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Faidra (Phaedra) Oikonomopoulou was born on 1984 in Athens, Greece. In 2009 she graduated with a diploma (MSc) of Architect Engineer from the Faculty of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens [NTUA], ranking among the top students in her class. For the coming one year she worked both as an architect engineer in Athens and as a travel article contributor. In 2010 she followed a second master degree in Building Technology at the Delft University of Technology. It was her MSc thesis initiative that introduced her to glass as a structural material: "The design of a fully glass pavilion for the Temple of Apollo Epikourios in Peloponnese". She proudly presented the findings of her thesis in Challenging Glass 3 Conference. Following her graduation in 2012, Faidra embarked on an adventure in Namelok, a Maasai village in Kenya, to work on the use of mud bricks for construction and pursue her other big passions: travelling and wildlife spotting. Many elephants and lions later she returned to Delft as a researcher for a project on innovative glass joints, followed by a six-month internship in an engineering office specializing in structural glass applications in Athens.