Call for Paper: Glass in Architecture: Production, use and conservation. Romont, 5-6 November 2021

Glass in architecture from the pre- to the post-industrial era. 

The history of sheet glass is long and intrinsically linked to developments in architecture. The material and its potential has always inspired architects, engineers and artists. History is rich with examples of sheet glass use on a monumental scale: the stained glass windows of the Gothic cathedrals, the ‘Galeries de glaces’ and glazings of 17th-century castles, the glass roofs of mainline railway stations and large display windows of department stores of the 19th century, and the glass façades of skyscrapers of today’s cities. Throughout the centuries, the growing demand for sheet glass has fuelled production and led to technological innovations in its manufacture.

The symposium is dedicated to the fascinating history of production and use of sheet glass. The aim of the conference is to highlight the interactions between technological innovations in the fields of sheet glass production and architecture and to elucidate the highly diverse properties and qualities of plate glass, which vary according to the manufacturing process used. Another objective will be to discuss the challenges presented by the preservation of historical architectural glass, particularly in the context of the trend towards thermal insulation of buildings, which often results in the replacement of the original windows.

The symposium welcomes papers on the following themes:

  • From cast to float glass. The history of sheet glass production from pre-industrial times to the present day;
  • Mutual influences: Technological innovations in the sheet glass and construction industries;
  • From Crystal Palace to Burj Khalifa: Glass in architecture from the 19th to the 21st century;
  • Disappearing legacy: The challenge of preserving and in situ-restoration of window glass.

Please send your proposal to Sophie Wolf sophie.wolf@vitrocentre.ch. The abstract should include the title of the paper and the name(s) and affiliation(s) of the author(s) and should not exceed 2,500 characters including spaces. Please also include the main author’s short CV (max. 800 characters). The languages of the conference are English, French and German. Abstracts can be submitted in any of the three languages.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15 January 2021
Notification of acceptance: End of February 2021

The symposium is organised jointly by the Vitrocentre Romont (www.vitrocentre.ch), the Bern University of the Arts, Conservation and Restoration Section, and the Institute of Art History at the University of Bern.

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