Written By: Brad Campbell | September 15, 2023
When it comes to architecture and design, innovation is a driving force that constantly pushes the boundaries of what is possible. Architects are constantly tasked with finding new ways to improve both form and function of buildings.
From improving the energy efficiency of buildings to hardening their security against human threats and mother nature, the type of glazing building designers choose to use in their projects plays a huge role.
One solution that architects are increasingly turning to when designing buildings with security in mind, because it provides a perfect balance of aesthetics and performance, is security glass (and non-glass security glazing).
As concerns about safety and security in all types of commercial spaces continue to grow, architects and even interior designers are turning to these advanced materials and technologies to create buildings that provide robust protection to those inside — while also attracting attention for their polished aesthetics.
Security glass, once relegated to very specific functional purposes, such as bank teller windows and windows in high-security government facilities, has undergone a remarkable transformation since its early days, especially over the last few years.
Today, the term security glass is no longer synonymous with thick, unsightly panes that obstruct views and diminish natural light.
Thanks to advancements in material science and engineering, security glass has evolved into a multifaceted architectural element that seamlessly blends functionality with aesthetics.
One of the most notable developments in security glazing is the integration of various layers of different glazing materials within the individual panes themselves.
Modern security glazing is often composed of multiple layers of laminated security glass, polycarbonates, acrylics, and other high-strength materials. These layers are fused together using cutting-edge lamination processes, resulting in a transparent yet highly resilient barrier.
This innovation not only enhances the glass’s ability to withstand impacts, but also allows for customization in terms of color, transparency, and even patterns. This versatility enables architects to use security glass in creative ways, while maintaining the desired security levels.
The primary feature of security glass, as the name suggests, is its ability to provide a high level of security. It acts as a barrier and deterrent against forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, rioting and looting, vandalism, storm damage, and even ballistic threats.
This is particularly important in high-security environments such as government buildings, financial institutions, and cultural landmarks, as well as in schools, luxury retail stores, and certain types of high-risk businesses.
However, the features and benefits of using innovative architectural security glazing solutions extend beyond just protection. Here are some of the big ones:
Perhaps the most sought after benefit of using security glazing in innovative architectural solutions is the high level of forced entry protection it can provide.
Different types of security glazing can withstand different levels of forced entry attempts, resisting attacks using bats, hammers, crowbars, and other common break-in tools.
Security glazing keeps would-be intruders out and delays and deters forced entry attempts, causing the perpetrators to move on or face getting caught in the act.
This forced entry protecting mitigates a full range of related criminal threats, including:
In addition to the protection against human-related threats that security glazing provides, it also protects properties against mother nature, particularly when she decides to whip up a storm.
In hurricane zones and other regions prone to strong windstorms, buildings can benefit from using security glazing for storm damage mitigation barriers that prevent windows from breaking if a piece of flying storm debris impacts them.
Some types of security glazing can even be used as an alternative to hurricane shutters in areas where building codes require them.
One of the most significant advantages of modern security glass is that it allows high transmission of natural light through windows into interior spaces and offers fully transparent visibility.
Unlike traditional security measures that block natural light and cut off views, like bars and grates, security glass maintains a connection to the surrounding environment.
This not only contributes to the occupants’ well-being, but also reduces the need for artificial lighting, thereby contributing to increased energy efficiency of buildings.
Security glass can be customized to meet the design vision of architects and their clients.
Whether it’s a sleek, minimalistic façade or a historic building renovation, security glass can be adapted to fit various architectural styles without compromising on safety and security.
This adaptability opens up new avenues for creativity and innovation in architectural design.
Some forms of security glass offer impressive sound insulation properties, reducing noise pollution and creating a peaceful interior environment even in bustling urban environments or other loud areas.
This feature is particularly valuable for buildings located in noisy areas, such as nearby airports or busy roads, or even those requiring confidential discussions, like private conference rooms.
Many security glazing options come with built-in protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
This not only safeguards occupants from potential health risks but also prevents fading of interior furnishings, preserving the aesthetic appeal of the space and protecting investments.
In areas prone to security threats such as terrorist attacks or industrial accidents, blast-resistant security glazing can significantly enhance the safety of occupants.
Its ability to withstand shockwaves from explosions and prevent broken shards of glass from flying dangerously inwards adds an extra layer of protection to vulnerable windows.
Installing a pane of security glazing over a building’s existing windows or implementing insulated glass units with security glazing infills in a building’s construction can improve the energy efficiency of its windows.
The extra layers of glass can significantly reduce solar heat gain and improve insulation, thereby reducing reliance on heating and cooling systems and, ultimately, lowering utility costs.
As technology continues to advance, the future of security glass looks more exciting than ever.
Companies like Riot Glass®, LLC are committed to researching and developing new state-of-the-art security glazing solutions to continue thwarting the bad guys and improving the security of building occupants.
Contact us today for a free consultation about how Riot Glass can boost your building’s security and more.