Towards the middle of the 19th century, the glass industry entered a period of intensive development; the end of the century saw the introduction of the first mechanised processes for making glass, backed by a systematic investigation of the physics and chemistry of glass. Hand manufacture and mouth-blowing are only employed today for special products.
Brutalist buildings often take a ‘less is more’ approach to glass use. They reject the ubiquitous ‘glass wall’ that was taking over city structures during the middle of the 20th century and instead opt for windows that are either recessed into the surrounding concrete, patterned to complement the intricate outline of the structure itself, or that provide an engaging creative glass contrast which emphasises the building’s shape – for example, the Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, where small circular ‘porthole’ style windows both flatter the round central tower and oppose the hard rectangles of the rest of the building.
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