Curtain Wall Façade of Laminated Glass with High-Strength SentryGlas® interlayer Maximizes Safety for Vienna's Ares Tower

The Ares Tower, one of Vienna's tallest office buildings, has a double skin with a newly installed laminate glass curtain wall façade. Thanks to the use of SentryGlas® interlayer, the façade's individual panels are neither thicker nor heavier than the previous single pane glazing, meaning that replacement could be carried out quickly and at high cost efficiency.


All the panels of the curtain wall façade are screen-printed with horizontal stripes at the top and bottom. In combination with adjacent panels, this decorative feature creates elongate design elements extending over the entire width of the building which enhance its elegance and also act as a clear warning to birds.
Photos: MGT
The individual point-fixed laminated glass panels of the Ares Tower's external façade each measure 1370 mm (54 '') x 3040 mm (120 '') and weigh 125 kg. The SentryGlas<sup>®</sup> interlayer enhances load capacity without any additional weight or design compromises.
Photos: MGT

At 26 stories and around 100 m (328 ft) tall, the Ares Tower, completed in 2001, is one of Vienna's tallest buildings. Its glass curtain wall façade of 2521 rectangular point-fixed panels, each measuring 1370 mm (54 ") x 3040 mm (120 "), giving a total area of 10,233 m² (110,147 sqft), was originally constructed using single pane toughened glass. In order to eliminate any potential hazards to passers-by, a film was bonded to the glass to retain any fragments in the event of breakage, for instance due to nickel sulfide inclusions. Because this film had yellowed over the years and in order to maximise safety for passers-by, the tower's owner had all the originally installed single pane glazing replaced with laminated glass units during a comprehensive refurbishment in 2011 and 2012.

MGT Mayer Glastechnik from Feldkirch in Austria, a specialist in high-performance glass solutions, fabricated the units using the SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer, which, due to its high strength and stiffness, enables comparatively thin and consequently light glazing units to withstand elevated loads. This meant that the replacement required neither reinforcement nor other costly changes to the load-bearing sub-frame.

The laminated glass units supplied and installed by MGT consist of two 6 mm (¼ ") thick sheets of single pane toughened glass which were subjected to heat-soak testing prior to lamination. This involves exposing the prestressed glass to temperatures of 290 °C (554 °F) in a furnace for a number of hours so further reducing the risk of spontaneous breakage. The two sheets are bonded together with a 1.52 mm (60 mil) thick SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer. The resultant total panel thickness of only 13.52 mm (17/32 ") is virtually identical to that of the previously used 12 mm (½ ") single pane toughened glass panels, while the weight is almost unchanged at 125 kg (275 lb).

The particularly cost-effective combination of low thickness and high loading capacity is possible because SentryGlas® interlayers are able to transfer elevated shear forces thanks to their high strength and rigidity. Lamination of the glass and interlayer results in a laminate with good shear rigidity which behaves almost monolithically under flexure. In practice, under identical loading, laminates with SentryGlas® undergo less than half the deflection of a laminate with PVB and thus behave almost identically to single pane toughened glass of the same thickness. On the basis of this structural coupling effect, the Deutsche Institut für Bautechnik (German Institute for Building Technology) in Berlin has granted general approval (the ,Allgemeine bauaufsichtliche Zulassung‘) for the use of laminated safety glass made with a SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer in construction. In Germany, the interlayer can now be included as a load-bearing element when calculating the load capacity of laminated glazing. Costly case-by-case approval is no longer necessary.


Learn more about the Ares Tower project by downloading the case study: