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Laminated Glass News: March 2014

Clear, Original and Sympathetic Vision Coupled to Contemporary Performance Performance at Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater


(Click on image for larger view.)
Glass facade | Frank Lloyd Fallingwater building
(Photos courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), one of America's foremost architect, Fallingwater became a sensation almost overnight.

Built between 1936 and 1939 for the Kaufmann family, the home's unique design and setting – over a 9.1m (30ft) waterfall – gives viewers the impression that it doesn’t appear to stand on solid ground.  Instead, it stretches out over the waterfall, giving the illusion of floating in air. Frank Lloyd Wright's reasoning for this approach was that he wanted the family to live with the waterfalls, to make them part of their everyday life, and not just to look at them now and then.

Since its original construction, the building underwent a number of renovations, including the replacement glazing panels to conserve UV damage.  These panels incorporated a PVB interlayer, which then began showing their age, with clouding, water ingress and delamination.  To remedy the situation, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy began researching alternative replacement panels, and its research pointed in one direction – laminated glass panels incorporating DuPont™ SentryGlas®.

Laminated glass facade | interior view of Fallingwater home
The new glazing had to be as close as possible to the original plate glass; but also had to address the need to protect the interior wood and textiles from further UV damage.

According to Lynda S. Waggoner, Director of Fallingwater and Vice President of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Scott W. Perkins, Director of Preservation: "We wanted to get as close as we could to the original 1/4in (6.4mm) plate glass, but we had concerns regarding color and clarity; we definitely did not want any tinting or diffusion.  This desire had to be countered with the need to protect the interior wood and textiles from further UV damage.

"We started our research in 2008 by undertaking comparisons between glass with films and glass with interlayers," Waggoner explains, "but we soon realised that films had a huge impact on the color and clarity, giving us green and grey tints. In addition we saw a risk of bubbles and peeling at the edges. It was soon clear to us that the best approach would be to use an interlayer, which also meant that the maintenance and housekeeping staff could treat the new panels as they would monolithic glass panels – without the worry of damaging any sensitive films with scratches or chemicals."

"...SentryGlas® soon became the clear winner thanks to outperforming PVB in all tests."

Learn more about this project and the benefits of SentryGlas®
by downloading the case study here.

(This case study is also available in other languages.
See the right-hand side of this page to download.)

 thumbnail of front page | Fallingwater case study 

Download pdf of the Fallingwater Case Study:



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