Materiality and authenticity of glass and glass construction in buildings from the period of modernity: documentation and analysis of material and constructions in building construction and preservation science
Glass and glass construction are characteristic elements of buildings from the period of modernism (1880-1970) playing a significant role in the authenticity of a monument. At present, however, both glass as a material and its application in constructions are no issue in the perception of heritage conservators.
As a result, historical glass and glass constructions are regarded as disposable for renovation measures, especially for energy reasons, and are replaced by modern materials and constructions. The overall goal of the planned research project is therefore to manifest the significance of the original glass and the glass constructions as an indispensable and irreplaceable element of authenticity and hence of the cultural importance of modernist buildings.
The lively and textured surface of historical glass is a result of the historical manufacturing processes and, from a point of view of production technology, represents a defect that could only be largely overcome by the invention of the modern float glass process in the 1950s. However, it is precisely this shortcoming that contributes to the fact that historical glass owns a fascinating liveliness and unique materiality. Therefore, when an exchange from historical to modern glass takes place, both authenticity and materiality are lost.The proposed research project involves an interdisciplinary cooperation between the Institute of Building Construction at the TU Dresden and the Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies at the University of Bamberg. In the course of this participation characteristic glass construction types and glass production processes from the period of industrialization are to be recorded and classified and methods for their recognition and evaluation are to be defined. The project will investigate which main lines and innovations characterize the use of glass and glass constructions in the building industry and how material-specific and constructive innovations in glass technology and glass construction can be identified, appreciated and communicated as elements constituting heritage monuments.
The working program contains comprehensive research and investigation on the historical development of glass and its construction from production to installation on the building. With a series of scientific and structural analyses in the laboratory as well as on existing buildings, methods are to be defined which enable the identification of the materiality and authenticity of the glass from the relevant period. As a result, a working base for the materiality and authenticity of flat glass and glass constructions of modern buildings is developed supporting heritage conservators, architects and civil engineers in the assessment and classification of future projects.This project is related to the priority program “Cultural Heritage and Construction” and is presented as a tandem application, with the discipline of preservation science and building construction.