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Lightweight bonded acrylic facing at the Vitra VSL Factory

Matthias Michel, Holger Techen


Acrylic glass is omnipresent in the industrialised world; but as a building material most architects, facade planners and engineers are still unfamiliar with this material. In most cases it is applied as a substitute for glass which leads to inappropriate joints and fixtures. During the years of the path toward the digital era, the authors were in the fortunate position to be involved in several unconventional glass and acrylic glass projects.

On the basis of their most recent project, the  facade of the Vitra VSL Factory by SANAA Architekten, they describe the development of a facade for which they chose acrylic glass not as a substitute for glass but rather as a conscious material choice. Since the entire facade is it was possible to apply the manufacturing technology of deep-drawing, allowing for very thin wall thicknesses.

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