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Gökhan Avcıoğlu, founding partner of GAD, answered our questions on his perspective of glass and its various uses for their projects.

What concepts does glass as a building material evoke in your imagination?

Approaching this question from a different perspective, I can say that our use of glass at GAD is shaped according to the project concepts in the places where we design our projects. As a material glass appeals to different fields of use for diverse purposes, it can take on a variety of identities and add a different value to each project. While glass stands out in some of our projects, it can be less explicit in some others but yet play an important role. Therefore, I can say that the use of glass develops within the framework of a concept for me rather than invoking a concept in my mind.

Which criteria determine your preference in using glass (insulation, reflectivity, color, etc.) in the design processes of your projects?

As long as we can ensure privacy and thermal control, it is possible to do anything with glass. In my opinion, glass has two very important features that should be emphasized. The first one is its reflective capabilities. We have utilized this capability and ended up with good results both indoors and outdoors. The best example I can provide is our current office, our home GAD Park.

The second important feature is the greenhouse effect. These two criteria I mentioned play the biggest role in our use and selection of glass. For this reason, we study the technical characteristics of the glass by examining the climate, the ventilation conditions and the orientation of the sun in the location where we use glass.

Which buildings do you find the most impressive in its use of glass, why?

One of the first examples that comes to my mind is Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace. The most important issue that attracts my attention in this structure is the radical expansion of the scale of glass use and its first use of this scale.

The use of glass and glass structures always excites me, but if I am to talk about a glass building that I am most impressed with, my answer would be the Cartier building designed by Jean Nouvel in Paris. I think MDRDV's Crystal Houses project is also one of the best examples of glass use on an architectural scale.

What are the attributes of glass that add value to building design?

As I always approach glass with a different concept in every project, the value that glass adds to them also changes. While it is easier to use glass in a more public project, it is of course more difficult in a housing project where privacy should be considered. In our Exploded House project, which we realized about two decades ago in Bodrum, we used glass while creating the balance between open - semi-open space. These 4.5 meter-high glasses are just like car windows… This unusual usage provided an uninterrupted communication between the interior and the exterior. These can be completely lowered down in hot weather, allowing natural ventilation, and transforming a closed space into a semi-open one.

With a different approach, glass helped us immensely to capture the relationship between solid and void in our Cappadocia project that we are working on recently. Thus, glass can be used as a material that can add different values to the project, both according to the project’s scale and content.

How do these values reflect on your projects, how do you prefer to use glass?

As I mentioned before, this is a process that is completely shaped by the project. The way we used glass at Esma Sultan was completely "ghostly". Likewise, in our recent Cappadocia project we are trying to use glass in a position that is way behind the openings and with a minimal reflective effect. This approach of course is rooted in the framework of the solid-void balance that Cappadocia reminds us. Our approach to glass in our projects has mainly developed in this direction. As another example, we can mention the Borusan Music House. We had applied a similar approach to the one in Esma Sultan as well.

I can say that the most interesting part of glass in our projects is to create a double skin effect with it inside the building, a surface independent of its outer shell.

Could you share your vision for the creative use of glass in architecture?

I lose interest when “l’esprit”, gimmick and fantasy factors are too much involved in the use of glass. Take a glass bridge or a glass chair, for example, when it comes to this point, the feeling of trust and visual safety are lost. As such, I lose my interest too. But I can say that I am open to all uses of glass other than these. We'll wait and see, let's see what more will come out of us… Stay tuned.