Structural Glass

According to Carold J. Dyson in “Twentieth Century Building Materials,”

“Structural glass is the general term for a variety of architectural glasses but usually refers to colored opaque glass slabs.  Structural glass is fused at high temperatures, rolled into slab form, slowly annealed, and mechanically polished.  Its properties include resistance to abrasion and warping and an impervious surface.  Sold in black, white, and a variety of colors and finishes, structural glass can be bent carved, laminated, inlaid, and sandblasted to create patterns.  

The technological advances in the building materials industry influenced many of the 20th Century architectural styles.  One industry that flourished and advanced was the architectural glass industry.  Many structural glass producers came to forefront, such as Carrara Glass, Sani Onyx (Rox), and Vitrolite.

The structural glass could be pigmented and used for a variety of uses, including both interior and exterior.  In order to bring many older buildings “up-to-date,” structural glass was applied directly over the existing architecture.  A veneer was of the glass was also used to sheath new construction. Often paired with slick metallic surfaces, the use of pigmented structural glass is frequently associated with the Art Deco, Art Moderne, and Streamline styles. Refer to the NPS’s “Preservation Brief 12: The Preservation of Pigmented Structural Glass” for more information.”


  • Dyson, Carol J.  ”Structural Glass.” In Twentieth Century Building Materials, edited by Thomas C. Jester, 200-205. New York: McGraw-Hill Co., 1995.
  • “Preservation Brief 12: The Preservation of Pigmented Structural Glass,” (accessed March 3, 2010).