What Are Glass Walls?
Technological improvements of movable glass walls and partitions in recent years have made them an increasingly popular solution for breaking up offices, classrooms, storefronts, healthcare and hospitality spaces and more. Especially as users are increasingly concerned about the spaces they occupy following COVID, glass walls and partitions provide an array of benefits.
As real estate prices rise, the more flexibility in a space, the better. Flexible elements used for space configuration, like movable glass wall partitions, present a significant advantage because they can adapt as the users’ needs change, providing creative space solutions and adjacencies to optimize spatial use. Movable partitions provide an easy method of transforming a space.
Flexibility will be an increasingly important aspect of spaces as places open back up after COVID. Open offices that once accommodated the entire staff will be reconfigured to create safe working environments. Schools will examine the best ways to integrate both hybrid and safely distanced classrooms for in-person learning. Meanwhile, we’ve already seen a pivot in the ways that entertainment and hospitality spaces—especially restaurants—have created flexible spaces that can transform depending on current CDC suggestions and local regulations. Operable glass walls and partitions are an easy addition to an existing layout and offer new builds a range of possibilities.
There are spaces that have always required flexibility, like conference rooms and convention halls. Today’s glass walls and partitions allow for quick and easy space adaptation with less personnel.
Line of Sight
There is a growing trend of having a clear line of sight in spaces. Rather than siloing individuals behind opaque walls, having a line of sight in and out of conference rooms, offices, educational spaces and more helps to encourage cohesion across teams and foster a more productive environment.
In schools, a clear line of sight allows teachers to oversee students who may be participating in a variety of different activities, creating more independent learning opportunities that are structured for different levels of learning.
Likewise, offices that provide a clear line of sight help support productivity and a feeling of unity. Especially as employees return to the office after working from home, a clear line of sight can help promote teamwork.
What’s more: a line of sight through spaces can help make the room feel more spacious.
Research has shown the psychological advantages of natural light: employees and students who work in natural light record higher levels of energy, focus and productivity; meanwhile, studies found that there can be an increase of retail sales up to 40% when skylights are installed overhead. And there are noticeable improvements to health when individuals have access to natural light. A 15-year-long study found that patients spent less time in the hospital when they were placed near a window compared to those who didn’t have access to natural light.
For spaces looking to improve the natural light that permeates throughout the building, movable glass walls offer a simple solution, replacing opaque walls and barriers, providing more integrated interiors.
What’s more: the increase of natural light throughout the space can help meet energy-efficiency goals and can help you qualify projects for WELL or LEED v4 certification points.
Acoustics have become an increasingly important factor when designing interiors. Even when it comes to movable glass partitions and sliding glass walls, higher sound control capabilities can be achieved by specifying panel styles, frames, seals and glass type for the intended use and location. By understanding the sound transmission class (STC) ratings of each element of a glass wall, better designs can be achieved with optimal acoustical performance.
A big advantage of movable glass wall partitions is that they can be top-supported, removing the need for floor tracks. When the glass wall partitions are not in use and put away, there are no unattractive and even potentially dangerous empty floor tracks that can be a potential tripping hazard. Top-supported glass wall partitions also decrease the build up of dust and dirt in grooves of the floor or carpet.
Note: Best practices for top-supported panels is to have the glass mechanically fastened when the panel is constructed rather than “clamped.”