The Structural Awards 2014 ceremony culminated in the presentation of the ultimate accolade - the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence. This year it was awarded to The Glass Lantern, a feature at the new Apple store in Istanbul, Turkey, by structural design company, Eckersley O'Callaghan. Foster + Partners were listed as both the architects and mechanical & electrical engineers of the project and Steele and Premier Composite Technologies as the principle contractor.
The Purest Form of Structural Glass Design
This latest iteration of structural glass design provides the purest form possible within the limits of current material fabrication. Clear glazed single panel walls with no connections to distract the eye, 10m long by 3m high on four sides, provide an efficient structural form capable of resisting seismic loads, while providing total transparency and architectural purity. The lightweight ultra-thin roof made of CFRP panels (carbon fibre reinforced plastic) seamlessly joined on site, provides a completely smooth uniform soffit while also improving the seismic performance of the whole structure. In such a minimalist project the detailing required particular attention, the result being a total absence of fixings, with the five panels being held together by structural silicone.
The Judge's Overall View of the Apple Store Design
It was noted at the awards that the judges found this to be a supreme example of collaboration between engineer and fabricator to achieve an outstanding, architecturally minimalist structure. The use of single panes of toughened laminated glass to support a lightweight ultra-thin CFRP roof without connections other than structural silicone, takes structural glass technology into a new dimension; a project where only engineering excellence and attention to detail can produce a result of such simplicity and purity of expression.
A Few Other Major Apple Store Designs by Eckersley O'Callaghan
To view more Apple Store designs by Eckersley O'Callaghan, visit their website. The photo of the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue N.Y is credited to Roy Zipstein. The bottom photo of the Apple Store in Shanghai is credited to Billy Hustace.