Glass Farm

Glass Façade Digital Printed in a Commercial Building in Holand

 

Printed Area
1,800 sqm / 19,375 sqf
Number of Panels
5,000
 
Colors
Digital mix
Glass Type
Insulated glass
 
Completed
2013
 

 

Project Partners

Glass Processor
AGC Glass Europe

Architect
MVRDV

Photographer
Jeroen Musch, MVRDV, Persbureau van Eijndhoven

Project featured on:

Project Details

 An All-Glass Exterior Creates a Historic Installation with a Clear Future

The designers played with the levels of translucency according to the need for light and views throughout the structure, customizing the panels for each section.
The Glass Farm, located in the market square of the Dutch town Schijndel, is a modern project inspired by old local farms. To construct this unique building all the remaining historical farms in the area were photographed, measured, and analyzed. From the images and data collected, the architects of MVRDV began to piece together the project’s image and shape. The results were then printed on different size panels, using Dip-Tech's digital ceramic glass printing technology, culminating in an 1,800 sqm glass façade. A particularly intricate endeavor, the photorealism, scaling, solar control, shading, transparency, material imitation, cultural identity, and context were all carefully considered. The designers played with the levels of translucency according to the need for light and views throughout the structure, customizing the panels for each section. The completed Glass Farm stands at 14 meters (46 feet) high and is 1.6 times larger than a real farm, symbolizing the original village's growth into a town.
 

 

 

Architect's Area - Image
“We were struggling to achieve the desired effect of a farm image displayed on a glass shell by means of using standard fritting techniques, because back then this meant a mono-color frit with a lot of repetition (to reduce costs on the molds) in the overall image… DCP [digital ceramic printing] provided high-resolution prints on glass, in full color, without the need for molds or repeating elements. That changed the game completely.”
--Gijs Rikken, Architect, MVRDV, quoted in ArchDaily

Perfectly Customized Panels Ensure the Right View

The Glass Farm is a mixed-use project, hosting office, commercial and recreational spaces within the structure. Many different elements were taken into account to create a realistic exterior, with different layers used to create these effects. Layers of information were printed on the glass including a brick texture imitation layer; a printed windows and door layer contributes to the scaling effect; and a playful atmosphere layer, with small historic references and environment details breathes life into the installation. One such playful element the designers added was superimposing a four-meter (13 foot) high farm door, to give adults the nostalgic feeling of being a small child again. In addition, a transparency and solar heat gain control layer, in which the printed windows are not the actual “windows” of the building, helps maintain more efficient climate control, while keeping the exterior looking authentic.

Gray section - Image

 

The Glass Farm is a mixed-use project, hosting office, commercial and recreational spaces within the structure.
When the project began back in 2000, one-color screen-printing was the default option. But with the advancement of digital printing on glass, AGC Glass Europe was later able to provide samples of digitally printed glass in color, using Dip-Tech digital ceramic printing. Seeing the full-color high-resolution prints, and grasping that the project could be printed without molds or having to repeat elements, MVRDV opted for digital ceramic glass printing.

A highly complicated, intricate and precise installation, the Glass Farm required thousands of individual, customized glass panels. To keep track, variable data codes were printed on each panel for easy installation and reproduction.

Besides an incredibly accurate replication, using digital ceramic printing gave the Glass Farm the durability it needs to withstand the elements over the long haul. The result: technology that perfectly replicates tradition – a modern glasshouse built in the image of history that is sure to stand the test of time.