MVRDV replaces Chanel store's traditional facade with glass bricks

This movie shows the method behind MVRDV’s pioneering glass technology that replaces the brick facade of a former townhouse in Amsterdam with a transparent replica, more suited to the building’s new use as a Chanel boutique.

Described by the Rotterdam studio as the first of its kind, the innovative facade of Crystal Houses Amsterdam uses glass bricks, windows frames and architraves to recreate the city’s traditional architectural style.

The glass bricks are held in place with a transparent high-strength glue. According to MVRDV, the construction is “in many ways, stronger than concrete”, as was proven during the testing process.

Towards the upper storeys, the glass elements merge with the original terracotta brickwork to create the illusion of a dissolving wall.

The architects believe the technology offers a solution to the loss of local character in city centres around the world, many of which are now dominated by plain glass shopfronts.

“We said to the client, ‘Let’s bring back what will be demolished but develop it further’,” said Winy Maas, one of the three co-founders of MVRDV.

Crystal Houses the movie was created by Robert Jan Westdijk for Warenar with the help of people and companies involved in creating Crystal Houses.

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