Architectural production has become an increasingly complex process. In addition to the supposed creative energy of the architect at work, he or she seems to have a heroic capacity to direct the titanic task of designing buildings and managing their construction as a single person leading the process.

This reading does not do justice to the difficulties, the compromises and the innumerable decisions influenced by contingencies of every type which accompany the design process, especially when the scale of the project requires the participation of many people in its development.

These groups of people, who form part of project teams, bring to the table an overwhelming amount of information that has to be analysed, interpreted, sorted, and with which the work of synthesis that is architectural design has to be composed.

The importance of the building section lies precisely in its nature as the document in which all of these knowledges are concentrated and diluted into a comprehensible grammar, with its own rules of the game. These are not details of what is spoken, that perverse drift of the fetishism that abandons the project as a whole in order to get excited about short-lived matters, meetings and affectations, but of the importance of understanding construction design as the science of inventing and establishing systems. These systems are the project’s genetic code, a set of equations that allows us to resolve specific cases, make spatial decisions, confront changes and accept the limits of circumstances, all of this within a logic that defines that situation as unique, even while its objective is to shine light on something generic, simple, natural, comprehensible, which erases the trace of all conflicts that have taken place during the process.

In the building section, the architect represents the coinciding of all the dialogues that accompany the project, from structural to regulatory criteria, including budget limitations, acceptable construction periods and the unexpected confluence of a thousand subjective ingredients. We could say that what appears to be the most architectural document is actually the accumulation of knowledges and peculiarities of “others”, and what appears to be the most precise and pragmatic document is actually the most subjective one, one which allows us to identify new sensibilities, new intelligences.

All architects have access to the same information, they can approach the same consultants and access the same industrial houses and their catalogues, and they have to comply with the same regulations. Nevertheless, it is precisely the selection and specific organisation of the massive amounts of data that are managed in the search for a logic that is assumed to be universal, although we know that it cannot be so, which is the most creative, most design oriented, most committed act performed by the contemporary architect. All of this is concentrated in building sections that appear before us as a compendium of interests and discoveries, of ideas of beauty and efficiency, of social, intellectual, cultural and political commitments. This is why we say that building sections can and should be read as records/x-rays of an instant, and that a large number of them make up one of the most accurate and enigmatic descriptions of the present.


Humans are distinguished from the remaining primates in thatthey are the only ones to be entirely bipedal. From the moment they began to walk upright, the manner in which they experience space has been determined by their vertical condition, which coincides with the force that imposes a certain order on the world. By aligning themselves with the force of gravity, they found a tentative rootedness of sorts, a bond with the earth which both anchored them and allowed them to retain their inherent mobility. From an early stage, this upright posture enabled a more complete experience of vertical space. They soon realised that exploring the world from a vertical perspective, seeking to master height, would increase their sovereignty on earth and bring them closer to the celestial transcendence which they believed to be supreme, positioning themselves between those they wished to dominate and the unknown which dominated them.

This vertical posture expanded their relationship with the world at large, inviting them to overcome the limitations of matter in search of answers to the many unknowns offered up by the world. However, it also brought with it a state of permanent tension. Walking upright on just two feet, humans experience a constant need for something to hold on to. Upright, humans raise their head, perceiving three levels: the ground on which their feet rest, their field of vision, which ranges far and near at a speed unmatched by their feet, and finally the vertical void hanging over their heads. As a result, humans walk in tension, resting on the compact, obscure soil while feeling the volatility and unpredictability of space above them. Whereas on one hand this inescapable tension holds us to the ground, on the other it reminds us of a weakness which must be overcome: the price we pay for the ability to walk upright is the constant risk of falling.

Whereas, on a global scale, mankind has sought protection, advancement and dominion by exploring height, on the scale of the spaces we have built for ourselves we have sought to underscore the presence of the verticality we have striven to maintain. Indoors, the vertical dimension demands a volume of space which exceeds our material needs, reflecting our desire to reinforce our hard-won verticality through our conception of space.


The first humans who felt the need to build refuges, taking possession of natural shelters or moulding the materials provided by nature, created – for the first time – a division in the exterior spatial continuum they inhabited. From the exposed, open universe, they subtracted a small part in search of refuge, a limited space in which they could momentarily experience a sense of control. In this way, they sought to bring about an ordered system amid the inexplicable chaos of their lives. This need to be apart from the world led them to build indoor spaces, literally walling themselves off from everything else, segmenting the world. Ever since, they have been constantly seeking to make it one again.

However generous, every indoor space conceived by mankind is a reduction of the world, which finds its complement in the vastness that lies beyond any door. While the door has always been an unambiguous instrument of closing out, of exclusion, of protection – demarcating a restricted indoor territory – it has also had the opposite function, of opening. The door, like other openings, is the embodiment of the human need for contact with the exterior. Human survival depends on transit between interior and exterior spaces. Indoor spaces which do not harbour life have no need for openings – what is kept in these spaces is to be kept forever.

The wideness sought by humans is not limited to control over the space which immediately surrounds them. As it discovers the immensity of the territory it inhabits, mankind is faced with the monumental scale of its ignorance, and becomes aware of its limits – as well as a new freedom. Whereas the body is subject to the limitations of a small portion of space and its own mobility, the range of perception is another matter entirely. As is the case with certain other animals, mankind perceives and feels the world beyond its immediate surroundings. The senses provide a wider experience of the world.

Man’s quest for a state of continuity, albeit an illusory one, is also reflected in architecture. Accordingly, the increasing wideness provided by openings observed over the course of the history of architecture is the architectural expression of an intrinsically human trait – embodying the desire and ability to reach beyond our own body, and a yearning to regain a lost unity.


Transparency and immateriality have been obsessive aspirations in modern architecture following the prediction of Karl Marx, “All that is solid, melts into air”. However, this obsession with unobstructed visibility has weakened the sense of gravity and materiality, secrecy and shadow, as well as the primary difference between inside and outside. Material surfaces have turned into reflections and the immaterial imagery of dreams and the unconscious. Glass and transparency were intended to enrich and dramatize architectural expression, but they have eventually resulted in uniformity, repetitiousness and boredom.

This trend has gradually given rise to ideas and works that aim to restore the lost sense of mystery, layeredness and depth. Architectural history provides splendid examples of variously penetrable surfaces, from Gothic stained-glass windows to Islamic and Indian carved stone walls that filter light and visibility. Also, modern architects have developed surfaces and devices that articulate and mediate visibility and textural experiences, such as the porous “textile blocks” of Frank Lloyd Wright, the sun-breakers of Le Corbusier, and the wood lattices and surface textures of Alvar Aalto. The means of creating layered and tactile visual experiences have multiplied with today’s new ideas and materials of translucency, as exemplified by the printed ornamentation of Herzog and de Meuron, Steven Holl’s ideas of “porosity”, and Kengo Kuma’s examples of “dematerialization” or “particlization”. Finally, today’s material technologies are producing materials that adjust their degree of transparency and solidity, as well as other properties in accordance with the changing conditions of the environment. Surfaces simulate the dynamism of living skin.

These devices give a sense of depth, mystery, surprise and temporal duration to vision. We know how laces and veils can eroticize the human body by hiding and creating ambiguity; veils and curtains evoke our curiosity and imagination. Even light is invisible until it strikes a surface or penetrates into a material. James Turrell, the alchemist of light, speaks of the tactility and “thingness” of light. Light becomes especially emotive when it is caught by a mediating substance, such as water, rain, mist, smoke, or a translucent material, such as marble or alabaster. Light turns into a radiant and colored air or liquid. Great painters, from J.M.W. Turner to Claude Monet and Mark Rothko, have also transformed light into embracing colored substances.

As a consequence of the constant acceleration of the speed of life, time is also disappearing from human experience. This simultaneity is exemplified by the reflective surfaces of corporate architecture. When time and duration are caught and held through processes of erosion, decay and wear, they metamorphose into sensuous, tactile and comforting experiences. Ruins have a particular appeal as they tame human arrogance, halt duration and invite our touch. Like light, time can also turn tactile through architecture and art, as in the great novel of Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time.


Excerpt from “Windows and Screens”, in A topology of everyday constellations Cambridge (MA), MIT Press, 2013.
Selected and edited for this book by Paulo Providência and Georges Teyssot.

Human beings could be characterized as “animals with windows”, inasmuch as between world and subject there is always something that mediates – not so much a medium per se, but something that connects all outside things with us. In his seminal book Fenêtre (Window, 2004) Gérard Wajcman recalls that a “window” is not only a literary trope or metaphor, but also an actual mechanism, referring to the real window – an actual window with a set of frames and glass panes, often protected on the outside by shutters and on the inside by curtains. However, if one were to rip off the frame and mullions holding the glass panes, one would be left with just an aperture, bay, or gap in the wall that lets one look through. Such an opening would function as an apparatus of vision – as an eye. And if the window can be an “eye”, then the eye can be a window. In human history many things have been our windows: spectacles, paintings, cameras, videos – instruments that help us connect to the world in which we are constantly immersed.

Since Leon Battista Alberti’s famous treatise on painting, the metaphor for painting has been an “open window” (aperta finestra) through which the subject (historia) to be painted is seen. This comparison established the Western way of seeing the world as a picture; it also transformed the actual window, which at the time of Alberti was neither squared nor perfectly glazed or transparent.

[…] The world seen through the window as painting shows no continuity with the space where the observer stands – instead of a continuum, there is only distance, which is underlined by the frame.

Simmel had previously mapped reciprocal states of unity and exclusion in his 1902 essay “The Picture Frame: An Aesthetic Study,” a seminal investigation on the nature of framing an art-work. Here, the frame, by the very materiality of its border, is thought of as a device that helps the work of art to exclude anything exterior while offering a concentration on its interior. The frame guarantees the possibility of an autonomous existence for an artwork (ergon, “work” in Greek) by inscribing it in a place that will resist the continuous “exosmosis” and “endosmosis” that occur in a living cell. For Simmel, nothing should battle with the secondary position of the frame in relation to the painting; instead, everything (matter, color, form and shape) should maintain the frame as a parergon (subordinate work or accessory). […] Any attempt to weaken the essence of the framing – by opening up the encircling border, by transforming the frame into a piece of furniture, or by using the shape of architectural elements (such as pilasters or pediments) to build the frame – is condemned, inasmuch as it would abate its “parergonality”.

This happens because the frame, like the door, is situated in an unstable position, acting as an intermediary between the art-work and its surroundings – with which it is united; from which it is separated. For Simmel, the artwork’s frame is a metaphor for the border between social groups, thus showing that the true function of framing is “closing” the object “off against the surrounding world and holding it together.”



When Sigurd Lewerentz decided that there are no frames suited for his architecture, he abandoned his practice and devoted ten years of his lives to perfecting and refining the production of windows and doors frames. His is an isolated case, but an example of his effort and devotion is St Peter’s Church in Klippan, which was completed when its architect, Sigurd Lewerentz (1885-1975) was eighty-one. It is the second, and arguably the masterpiece, of a trio of late buildings that began with the commission of St Mark’s Church, Bjorkhagen in 1956 and ended with Lewerentz’s last structures for the Malmo East Cemetery – the Flower Kiosk and the caretaker’s house, in 1969, perfectly illustrating this predicament.  The great frames of great paintings are the most public manifestation of our intimate and most profound dependence on frames. No boundaries can exist without their thresholds. It is neither the art of the embalmer nor of the decorator. It does not raise cultural pearls, does not traffic in fakes or emblems, nor would it be content to be a mere feast of ornament. It is intimately related to beauty, the supreme alliance, but beauty is neither its goal nor its sole source of nourishment. It gathers to its narrow present all of the past and the future, human and natural place and space. Nothing can occur at the frame that by its nature is not commensurable with the inside and outside of the place, which is not one with the law of harmony, governing the entire world of things. Against the worst catastrophes of history, seasonal rhythms in a vaster cycle of repetitions and renewals, framing the moment, framing, reflecting and throwing light upon one moment in the immense plot as it unfolds itself through time and space. The frame maker is the one who breaks for us the bonds of habit and custom.

Nothing can preserve its form and measure against the ceaseless flux of our days, as much as the frames by which we create the daily pattern and the rhythms of our lives.

Rarely have we sung the praise of those often-anonymous craftsmen and artisans who, over centuries, have indefatigably furnished us with these features of our architecture that define its temporality, perhaps only equal to the treatment of the substances of the building itself.  How else would we be able to acknowledge the difference between the different lights of day, the seasons of the year, our presence and our future absence? What else defines our passage on earth? What is a better introduction to a house if not its portal? Indeed, in some culwwtures, rituals concerning the doorframe are significant and marked in prayers.  The miniature of our creations acquires its limits everywhere and always thanks to doorframes and window frames.


Corners are the convergence of two walls, two forces, two energies once sketched on paper and now elevated to the status of physical elements.

The corner of a house is the result of a romantic encounter, a kind of chaste material kiss.

Two vertical elements (two walls, two bipedal architectural elements which have risen up from the ground, leaving behind the realm of crawlers), two elements which grew from the ground up, are there, have met, intersected, and rather than attack each other have, surprisingly, sought mutual understanding. Indeed, a corner is the product of an understanding between two walls. They could have continued, each on its own path, but decided instead to stay put; reining in their momentum, they formed a corner, a shelter of sorts, a hiding place.

This, then, is the genesis of the corner. Two intersecting straight lines form an angle; when the angle gains height, it becomes a corner, and when the corner gains a roof, it becomes a shelter. The corners of homes are sheltered angles, prime locations for children playing at hide and seek. In fact, corners are the domain of children. Corners always seem to age less than the centre, the core of the home.

But corner and centre are two players in the same game. The corner looks towards the centre, observing it. The centre of the room is observed. The corner is hidden, while the centre is on full display – the star of the show. The corner is a lookout post.

They are like two opposing elements: the centre is where people converge, the corner is deserted. The centre is a hub of movement, the corner is the least frequented part of the room. But it is, for this very reason, a place of great intimacy. The centre of the home is a venue for parties, the corner is a place of secrets. No one seeks out the centre of a party to tell a secret, but sometimes the circumstances of human conviviality give rise to corners in the most materially unpredictable places. For example, when a person leads another by the sleeve of their coat through the hustle and bustle of a party and, leaning close, tells them a secret, at that particular moment in time those two people form a new corner; an ephemeral one, a corner existing not in space, but only in time: a human corner. That is the law: where a secret is told, a corner is formed.

Therefore, the real, material corners of a home are in truth receptacles of potential secrets, of potential confidences. A simple room, with four corners, has four potential secrets – one, two, three, four. And yes, of course, out there in the wide world there are rounded corners; corners which seem to usher in another kind of human interaction. The shape of corners provides a clue as to how people interact among themselves. Every civilisation has its own corners.

Finally, a few practical points. You should not fill corners with junk or rubbish. You should not fill corners with useless items you doubt you will ever use again. You should fill corners… by not filling them. That is to say, you should fill corners with nothing at all. You should leave them empty. The corners of a home are the refuge within the refuge, the smallest cave inside the protective cavern of the house. This hiding place, this ultimate shelter, is an empty space with the capacity to accommodate a human body. That is what a corner should be, and that is how corners should remain. In waiting; like someone who can, at any moment, offer protection.


The inside of a house is the result of a giant excavation.

Excavation is a form of sculpture – and sculpture is a form of excavation, one might say.

To sculpt is to excavate stone – it is to excavate horizontally rather than vertically. It is to excavate not just matter, from left to right and from right to left, but air too; to give shape to the air which remains between materials placed above ground. What is taken from the stone is not just pieces of matter which occupy space. Also taken are pieces of matter which appear to occupy no space at all. The invisible air takes shape by surrounding the hard, visible matter from which the sculpture is made. Sculpture gives shape both to matter, and to the invisible. The invisible becomes that which surrounds a form, a kind of negative image of solid matter, with an identity of its own. The more personality the solid part of a sculpture has, the more original its negative, that invisible anatomy which scrupulously and accurately surrounds the matter.

What shape is the invisible? That is the question to ask when speaking of interiors.

Let us at this stage invoke Heidegger and the function of philosophy: philosophy goes round in circles; it is the opposite of progress in that it does not move forward, instead drawing endless circumferences. And why?

Because it constantly circles the centre, the essential.

Perhaps it could be said that it traces an ever deeper circumference, into which men can fall (and not just men, but also objects, habits, the city). This, then, is what it means to ponder the essential: to constantly circle the same thing, but going deeper each time.

And that, one might say, is also the job of an artist, of an architect, of a writer. Circling the same things, but every day a little deeper.

There is a notable difference here in relation to the concept of technological progress.


shout those who regularly introduce new products; progress as legwork, as forward motion, as ground gained; like someone seeking to put their name on as many square metres as possible. Occupying territory, like an invasion. This is what armies do, just like technology or certain ideas of progress.

Art, architecture, literature and philosophy follow other physical orientations: they go madly round in circles, working frantically, but always within the same square metre. They dig, go underground, return to the surface to breathe, and dig again in the same spot. At most, an architect or an artist turn the ground they have appropriated into a hole, then a well; and as the excavation deepens, a point is reached when they can only be extricated from the well by another, with the aid of a rope or a ladder. Someone must remain at the surface to ensure the safety of the one going down to the bottom.

“Downwards!,” shout those who work in the arts, “ever downwards!”.

Poetry and architecture; space and rhyme.

Mário Quintana, a Brazilian writer and poet, wrote a short text describing a family evening from his childhood in which a relative reads aloud from a poetry book:

“Tralalalala, tralalalala,

Tralalalala, tralalalalala…”

After a while, Gabriela exclaims:

“But it doesn’t rhyme!”

This causes quite a stir, eliciting disbelief all round. Poor Juquinha hurriedly reads out the last two verses…querulous…white…your…inane…vague…infinitely…

Heavens! How could it be?

“The rhyme must be in the middle,” major Pitulga solemnly pronounces.

This is met with a collective sigh of relief.

Well, there it is. In space, in architecture, the rhyme – if it exists – must also be in the middle.

What is the interior of a space? It is the impression of rhyme, of harmony, of material agreement among all the parts. As if the inhabitant were the final rhyme; the rhyme that is in the middle.



“Where the sun enters, the doctor does not.”

Every project is a window, a link between two spaces and two times. On the inside, you are in the present looking out, at what is to come. Inside, out; present, future.

This division of time is particularly evident when, for example, you see an animal – a buffalo, say, to name a round animal – when we see a buffalo, a herd of buffalo, approaching our house, it becomes clear how the window provides a glimpse of the future, of what is coming. A buffalo is coming, a storm is coming, a friend is coming. A window is a thing that gives us access to what is coming.

It should be noted that we are always (mankind is always) on the inside, even when in the open air. The place where we stand is our reference – what is on the other side, or around us – is a kind of remainder.

There is, then, an ancient conflict, apparently asymmetrical and disproportionate: the home against the rest of the world; but not just any home – our home! As if the world had been split in two by some mathematician suffering from self-centred delusions. There are two parts of exactly equal importance: my tiny home, and the vast, endless world. The window is the frontier between these two psychologically equivalent spheres.

The window is also a large-scale optical instrument – an instrument comparable to the microscope or the telescope.

— Microscope,

— Telescope and

— Window.

The window is the most ancient instrument created to assist the human eye. The microscope assists the eye as it bends towards the minuscule, while the telescope assists the eye in that backward shift of the body which enables it to take in the grand spectacle of the universe. Then there is the ancient and modest window. The window, that most ancient of technologies, enables the eye to see the outside – that is all. Correction: it enables the eye to see the outside while feeling protected. Because if you are outside, you also see the outside – but with a feeling of discomfort, or perhaps even danger. The window is an optical instrument with a calming effect. It shows that you have (or occupy) an indoor space from which you can observe the vastness of the outside world.

In the end, the window is curiosity made glass. It is curiosity in concrete form.

I have here two completely different ways of exercising curiosity, someone might say of two different types of window. A window which opens outwards: explicit curiosity; a window which opens inwards: timid curiosity. And so on.

What is a window (summary)? It is a household appliance which enables us to see what is coming (one possible definition).

An appliance, yes – a kind of immobile machine; immobile, yes, but a machine nonetheless; square, rectangular (or round) – a seeing machine.

Windows, then, have this function too: framing the outside, transforming a shapeless landscape into a square, rectangular or round one.

Imposing geometry on asymmetrical nature. Cushioning surprises, in other words. This, among many others, is the task of the ancient window.




Between me and life is a faint glass.
No matter how sharply
I see and 
understand life, I cannot touch it.

Fernando Pessoa


With the turn of the new century and the strong focus on energy resources and environmental issues, new paradigms are determining our everyday life. Furthermore, the strong emergence of new technologies based, among others, on nanotechnology approaches and the rapid evolution of the so-called “internet of things” provide widespread tools for a more interactive and efficient way of living.

Words such as sustainability, interaction and smartness are increasingly applied to our daily life, leading to a paradigm shift that can be considered more a revolution rather than an actual evolution, as it involves the modification of all aspects of human activity, including communication, organization, mobility, housing, and so on.

One of the key playgrounds of this technological revolution/evolution will be at the level of buildings, including housing, work, culture and entertainment. Stronger energy efficiency requirements and interactivity will require our buildings to be shaped with new materials and solutions.

Among building materials, glass is taking on a dominant role in our living and working environment: the increasing architectural value of glass is already recognized, as it is applied not only in its classical role as windows, but has also established its presence in larger parts of the entire structure of the building, as well as in its interior, as an essential part of decoration and innovative features.

Thus, glass as a structural and base material for energy management and interactive technologies will take advantage of many new technologies, adding value to this classical material.

In this context, many novel materials and technologies are being and will be increasingly used in combination with glass. Together with strong efforts to improve glass itself, allowing for its weight, mechanical and thermal properties to be tailored, novel coatings and printing and other technologies allow for the introduction of new features, which will certainly shape the future technological and commercial possibilities of glass.

Glass thus functionalized will allow for the thermal, luminous and acoustic environment to be tailored both passively and actively, using specific coatings and printed materials with controllable and/or switchable properties. Further, it can be modified to introduce novel interactive functionalities through display, sensor and actuator capabilities for an enriched environmental experience.

Glass and windows will thus also become a key element in the concept of the “internet of things”, aiming at complete interaction and multifunctionality.

Most of the materials that will allow for these implementations are so-called smart materials, which can be generally grouped into property changing and energy exchanging. Some of the materials are ready for implementation, while others are still being improved in terms of transparency, stability and commercial applicability, and other properties. In any case, proofs of concept and demonstrations already exist based on smart materials and their effects, which will certainly be increasingly implemented in the near future. Some representative examples include:

[1] color and optically changing materials, including photochromic, thermochromic and electrochromic materials, which change their optical properties or color under light, thermal or electrical stimuli, respectively, enabling control of color and/or optical transparency;

[2] materials with shape memory and shape changing properties, triggered by different stimuli, such as thermal, electrical and magnetic variations, allowing for the implementation of specific switches and the modification of shape for specific features;

[3] adhesion changing materials, which are able to reversibly change the attraction forces of adsorption or absorption of specific components in response to a stimulus, including light, temperature, an electrical field or a liquid and/or biological component, enabling the implementation of self-cleaning features, among many other possibilities;

[4] photoluminescent smart materials, including fluorescence and phosphorescence, and electroluminescent materials, including (organic) light-emitting diodes, polymers and small molecules, enabling specific lighting possibilities for decoration and safety;

[5] photoelectric and thermoelectric materials, which will enable the implementation of energy generation, storage and management systems;

[6] piezoelectric and magnetoelectric materials, which will enable the implementation of sensor and actuator capabilities, as well as energy harvesting from mechanical vibration;

[7] heat, water and gas storage materials, which will contribute to energy efficiency management, air cleaning and safety.


Other effects based on the use of smart and functional materials can be similarly presented. Functions can be implemented that react to light, temperature, pressure, electric and magnetic fields as well as to the chemical environment, opening the way to smart glass and smart window concepts.

Smart glasses can be defined as systems including interactivity or switchable properties, mainly based on the effects presented above.
It is noteworthy that this concept applies both to glasses placed in the exterior of buildings (windows) and to ones for interior decoration and/or multifunctional applications, including displays, sensing and interactive modules.

Some interesting examples of already implemented solutions or solutions that are close to being implemented include:

[1] optical transmittance that can be actively or passively modified, resulting in variations in light transmittance in the visible spectrum in order to manage incident solar radiation, privacy or decorative issues. Associated with this, switchable materials will enable control of view both to and from the exterior and in interior partitions, as well as reflection control;

[2] similarly, thermal transmittance can be managed by passive or active control of wavelengths up to the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Further, materials can allow thermal absorption control to tune heat flow. The proper control of radiation transmission and thermal absorption will enable the implementation of energy saving strategies relating to heating and cooling of buildings, and other features;

[3] active or passive control of hydrophobicity of the surface, enabling the implementation of self-cleaning glasses;

[4] finally, the last frontier will be the implementation of sensor, actuator and display capabilities based on the greatly improving “transparent electronics” materials and concepts that enable the highest levels of interactivity.

It is important to note that many of the novel active properties of glass are electronically stimulated, or require the implementation of a readout and communication electronic system. In this area, a critical role is also played by the framework around the window systems, where electronics and specific active systems should be placed efficiently, with minimal visual impact and cost effective industrialization and maintenance.

Thus, multifunctional approaches should be combined, integrating electronics and mechanical parts, as well as modular and flexible production with artwork finishing, for a complete integration of the systems.

Finally, it is always relevant to note that real impact and success can only be achieved through the active involvement of companies and universities/research centres by promoting the necessary creative and technical conditions enabling rapid technology transfer and implementation.

In particular, companies, being at the center of the identification of specific needs and trends while also being responsible for the implementation of the solutions, should play a proactive and leading role in promoting the integration of new materials and solutions that, in the end, will contribute to higher competitive standards.

Thus, new materials and concepts will combine with one of the most traditional ones, glass, in order to achieve higher architectural levels, together with a more interactive and energy efficient experience, both in the outer skin and inside our buildings…and in our lives.



“Smart Materials and New Technologies. For architecture and design professions”, Michelle Addington and Daniel Schodek, Ed. Elsevier, Architectural Press, Oxford, U.K. 2005

“Smart Materials in architecture, interior architecture and design”, Axel Ritter, Birkhäuser, Basel, Switzerland, 2007