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Glass exteriors in commercial buildings: Four incredible buildings with glass facades

With no shortage of aesthetic options in commercial building exteriors, glass stands out as a sleek, clean-looking option that invites a look inside from the outdoors. For those inside the building, natural light is a proven productivity and mood enhancer.

Technological advancements have allowed for many different innovations in glass, including treatments to improve energy efficiency, emissivity, glare, and coloring. Per,

“…architects, designers and fabricators are using glass to – pardon the pun – push the envelope in their work for exteriors. It’s becoming increasingly common to see large glass envelopes on buildings today. Modern designs, color and energy reduction technology are now infused in a building material that’s been used for centuries.”

Here are four incredible designs from around the word featuring glass exteriors in commercial buildings.

The IAC Building, New York, New York

The IAC Building, InterActiveCorp’s headquarters, is Frank Gehry’s first venture in New York City, which was completed in 2007. Per Wikipedia, “the building appears to consist of two major levels: a large base of twisted tower-sections packed together like the cells of a bee hive, with a second bundle of lesser diameter sitting on top of the first. The cell units have the appearance of sails skinned over the skeleton of the building. The full-height windows fade from clear to white on the top and bottom edges of each story. The overall impression is of two very tall stories, which belies its actual 10-story structure.”


Black Pearl Office Building, Brussels, Belgium

The building, completed in 2014 and designed by ART & BUILD Architect, accommodates 11,000 square meters of office space. Per Archilovers, “The architectural concept is clean and clear, with smooth concrete facings to the corner block and generous glazed curtain walling outlined with steel detailing. In order to obtain BREEAM certification, Art & Build integrated technical solutions including geothermal heat exchangers for heating and cooling requirements, condensing boilers for additional requirements, heat extraction systems incorporated in the HVAC system, rain water recovery for sanitary use and landscape irrigation, and intelligent artificial lighting control.”


La Samaritaine, Paris, France

Once a large department store in Paris, France, La Samaritaine closed down in 2005 due to not meeting safety codes. With design by Tokyo-based SANAA, work is ongoing on the structure, which will transform into offices, a hotel, social housing, children’s nursery, and retail space. Standing out among the many changes is the building’s rippling glass façade.


MP09, Graz, Austria

MP09, the office building of an optics company, is known as “Black Panther” by the local inhabitants and staff. Its mysterious dark gloss makes the building, resting on its bases with the spectacular protruding bow, look like a panther ready to pounce. Graz-based GSarchitects designed an architectural sculpture that is intentionally conspicuous in its urban environment. The dynamic quality of the architecture is enhanced by the use of StoVentec Glass. The black glass panels reflect their environment, which is continuously in motion, making the building a platform for a continuously changing drama.

Glass exteriors in commercial buildings

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