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The Institute at a glance

The Institute of Building Construction is at the forefront of exploring the building envelope of the future, aiming to achieve high architectural appeal, astonishing transparency, and circular sustainability while reducing energy demand. With a focus on Glass & Facade Construction, the Institute’s research mission aims to create safe, sustainable, and intelligent glass and facade structures through a combination of experimental, analytical, and numerical investigations. The Friedrich-Siemens-Laboratory specializes in testing glass, facades, adhesives, and laminates, serving as the pivot for the Institute’s experimental research. The Glass & Facade Construction research is divided into three separate research groups, each with their own specific area of investigation.

The research group “Glass Design & Engineering” at the Institute of Building Construction is dedicated to advancing load-bearing glass technology. Their research topics cover a wide range of innovations, from developing cutting-edge metal fixtures for glass panes to creating water-filled facade elements and transparent glass-plastic hybrid panels. The group also focuses on materials analysis related to the glass refining process and fire protection of structural glass beams. In recent years, the group has made significant progress in utilizing thin glass and additive manufacturing to design lightweight glass panels with innovative and adaptable light-guidance and shading functions.

The “Sustainable Facades” research group is dedicated to the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable approaches to constructing bespoke facades. The primary focus is on the intelligent combination of light control, ventilation, and internal temperature regulation within an energy-efficient and plus-energy building envelope. To achieve this goal, the group leverages its expertise in integrated photovoltaics, solar thermal energy systems, and “green” facades. In addition, the group has developed specialized knowledge in the re-use of existing glass as a means of harvesting the most carbon-demanding material to achieve regenerative engineering.

The research group on adhesive bonding explores the potential of this technique in load-bearing glass structures, focusing on both aesthetic and functional requirements. The group also investigates strategies and technologies for debonding existing connections, which supports innovative design and engineering of the building envelope, ultimately leading to a sustainable yet architecturally sophisticated built environment.

As part of its mission to transfer its findings to students, professionals, and the industry, the institute places a strong emphasis on developing Open Educational Resources and continuing education programs based on its latest research. The institute also engages in direct communication with professional practice and the broader society. Its international network of partners, coupled with funding from industry and national and European agencies such as DFG, BMWK, BMBF, BMEL, and SAB, enables the institute to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge research in glass and facade construction.

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Glasbrücke © Michael Engelmann