Glass at the Intersection of Art and Engineering
Sarah Oppenheimer is an artist whose work with glass challenges our perception of space. David Bott (PE, SE, AIA) of Heintges Consulting Architects & Engineers assisted Oppenheimer in developing structural solutions that do not always conform to traditional architectural parameters, often when there are no precedents in building codes. Bott highlights the apparent lack of clear glass engineering guidance in both the International Building Code and the ASTM E1300 standard. He goes on to explore the importance of utilizing information hidden deep within E1300 or contained in other codes and glass engineering literature, to tackle unique structural design situations. Engineering experience and imagination are not only relevant, but required. Two Oppenheimer projects are presented illustrating how the engineer overcame unusual structural challenges to help the artist develop her installations. The first project, a permanent entryway sculpture entitled P-131317, primarily consists of two oversized lites of glass sloped at 45 degrees, between which occupants enter and leave an academic building. The second project, a temporary gallery installation entitled 33-D, comprises two trapezoidal sheets of glass mounted through openings in the gallery’s partition walls. The bottom edge of each angular glass lite floats just above the floor plane with only three minimal support points.