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Crystal House Amsterdam


The typical brick façade of this 1876 Amsterdam building has been replaced by a glass replica, which dissolves into the terracotta bricks on the upper level. To create this effect, architecture and urbanism practice MVRDV undertook a period of intense research in collaboration with TU delft, engineers ABT, and contractor Wessels Zeist.

The glass bricks were created by glass specialist Poesia in Venice, Italy by pouring liquid glass into brick molds.
After completion, the glass bricks were sent off to Amsterdam where "Six to 10 experts worked every day for a whole year in a place that bore more resemblance to a laboratory than a construction site," said MVRDV in a statement.

Due to the sensitivity of the materials, an extremely high level of accuracy and craftsmanship was required and a technical development team was onsite throughout the process. Since this construction is the first of its kind, new construction methods and tools had to be utilized.

Our JKZC Diamond Blades were chosen for their high quality and accuracy to cut the glass bricks to the correct size, so that they could be placed in the exact same way the stone bricks they replaced were once carefully installed in the 19th century.

Despite its delicate looks, strength tests by the Delft University of Technology team proved that the glass-construction was in many ways stronger than concrete. The full-glass architrave, for instance, could withstand a force of up to 42,000 Newton; the equivalent to two full-sized SUVs.

See how the Crystal House was made

Text by Archello