Re-Use Experiments in the LM Facades Lab

The new installed workbench at the façade office at the Limmatstrasse is not just a showpiece, but rather symbolizes the workshop character of our working methods.
It serves as an important utensil for the practical material studies and experiments that the “LM Façade Lab” conducts in the office.
The most recent experiments resulted from the examination of sustainability issues that constantly occupy us in competitions and projects. We’re constantly working on solutions to minimize the CO2 emissions as façade designers. In that manner we try to figure out ways to re-use existing resources in building envelopes in a industrial capable way to establish the process in façade construction.
Inspired by the laminar glass bonding process which was applied for the ceiling soffits at the Apple Campus, and our own experiences with the Herostrasse façade restoration, we experimented with glass and silicone. These materials are well suited for our concern to combine resources and techniques into intelligent hybrids materials, whilst supporting the circularity of the building materials. By this procedure, window glasses at the end of their lifespan, in combination with the silicone, can be used as cladding material for the façade. After use as such, this Glass-silicone hybrids can be separated easily. Whilst Glass remains circular or recyclable after separation, silicone can also be recycled or downcycled.

The samples produced during this experiment gives an insight into the wide range of design possibilities of these hybrids. Colour, texture, shape and formats could be derived relatively freely from existing resources (glass) and enablers (silicone). The potential of this re-manufacturing process is considerable. The huge amount of flat glass, which are exchanged annually in the context of window renovations, could be reused in a meaningful way. The freedom of formats and shapes opens up a wide range of applications, and cutting to size is simple.

We would like to thank Dow Consumer Solutions – Building & Infrastructure / Dow Europe GmbH, Gyso AG and Glassolutions Switzerland / Saint Gobain for supporting our experiments at the LM façade Lab.

(Photos: Lüchinger+Meyer)