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Water Wave Glass Curtain Walls Help Create A Spatial Interface With The Public Space

Northglass create the slump bending glass for UCCA

The Project

The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is China’s first private contemporary art museum. Founded in 2007, it is located in the center of Beijing’s 798 Art District, which hopes to bring Chinese art into a global dialogue. The Metropolitan Architecture Office (OMA) internally transformed it in 2017.

The problem

In order to re-conceive the spatial interface connected to the public space, OMA added a series of elements to the original structure, the most important of which is the ladder seat extending from the interior to the outdoor square and the design of the curtain wall system. Ladder seats can be used for public lectures, reflecting the open relationship between independent art institutions and public spaces; the curtain wall is composed of slump bending laminated glass, which covers the seating area, colonnade and the core tube. The pleated geometric design is fascinating with the regular appearance of the existing red building.

The solution

Water wave glass curtain wall” is the most challenging part of the project. We are not interested in those who can create organic shapes, but those who can provide technology to let the glass generate organic forms in a natural way. We used the same glass curtain wall manufacturer as Apple-Tianjin Northglass Industrial Technology Co., Ltd., but compared to the perfect curved surface of the 12-meter-high glass curtain wall of Apple’s flagship store, the UCCA “ripple glass curtain wall” is not perfect. “It is actually vivid and natural, continuing the basic law of glass generation. For example, if you use an electric heating element to heat from both sides of the glass, the temperature and heating time determine the degree of deformation of the glass from the edge, and the glass fiber is displaced under a certain degree of flexibility, so this process is more like an experiment.

Chris van Duijn, Partner of OMA

The result in front of us is the natural law of glass formation which we did not expect.

Inge Goudsmit, director of OMA

The ripple of the glass curtain wall make up the original serious image of the building, and balance the “perfect”, “technical”, “large” and “flat” that the architectural glass curtain has always embodied. The “imperfect” glass we hope to create is like a personal ceramic art, combining the technology, craftsmanship and itself. When these factors collide, we have an open mind about the so-called imperfect results, and even optimistically treat it as a surprise. There are some small dots on the ripple glass curtain wall. We don’t know how it is formed, but they may attract people to look closer.

Chris van Duijn, Partner of OMA

The ripple glass curtain wall of the Beijing Ullens Center for Contemporary Art project was all built by Tianjin Northglass Industrial Technology Co., Ltd.

There are four main types of glass: small ripples tempered glass, S shape glass, omega and double curved tempered glass. Each shape is different, and the single-piece glass has a large size, a small radius, and a concave & convex curve, which is very difficult to process.

After repeated testing and research, Northglass technicians have made great efforts. In the end, it is perfectly presented according to the architect’s requirements

North Glass used “Artisan Spirit” to create such an awesome project for UCCA, so that the charm of glass shines in the 798 Art Center!


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