António Costa Lima, founder of António Costa Lima Arquitectos answered our questions on his perspective of glass and its various uses in his projects.
What concepts does glass as a building material evoke in your imagination?
Glass evokes the transparent frontier between two worlds: our own interior world and nature, artificial or natural.
Which criteria determine your preference in using glass (insulation, reflectivity, color, etc.) in the design process of your projects?
For the glass, I normally think of it as a purely transparent surface. But we all know that this is a very difficult goal to achieve. All the technical characteristics like security, thermal and solar protection, etc, imply that the glass gains protection films and/or thickness and color. But of course, there are other criteria that we can think about when choosing a type of glass.
Which building do you find the most impressive in its use of glass, why?
Our design for the Hopscotch House. The ambiguity of the internal space given by the huge glass surfaces of the multiple patios inside the house is the reason for my choice.
What are the attributes of glass that add value to building design?
The glass has many technical and aesthetic attributes that can add value to a building. The lighting and thermal treatment of the space are the most important.
How do these values reflect on your projects, how do you prefer to use glass?
As I mentioned above, I prefer to use it the more transparent as possible. But to draw a window or a glass door to give light to a house is a very difficult task. Space mustn't be always bright. We need the shadow to sculpture the space and to create intimate or spiritual feelings.
Could you share your vision for the creative use of glass in architecture?
We have to open our eyes to every possibility that glass can offer. But we should not be blinded by it. What I mean is that the glass is just an instrument or a tool to achieve the idea of the project.
Photography: © Francisco Nogueira (2nd-5th: Hopscotch House)