July 29, 2007

the bnw of sg

That is... the Brave New World of Stained Glass.


Two architectural glass projects with an eye to the future.

On the left, the south transept window by Gerhart Richter for Cologne Cathedral, in Cologne, Germany.

On the right, the new building by Neutelings Riedijk Architects for the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum, The Netherlands.

Gerhard Richter Window at Cologne Cathedral

It's not often you see an article about stained glass in WIRED magazine. Such is the case with the new window designed by Gerhard Richter for Cologne Cathedral.

Why in WIRED? Wired points out that 4096, the name of the painting on which the window is based, is also the number of 'web-smart' colors. So, we have computer types geeking out on numerical coincidence. Nevertheless, there is something distinctly 'computery' about the look of the design.

Why? To my eyes, it's because it looks so much like an image of random pixels on a computer screen; and interesting seeing that the painting was created in 1974, before the invention of personal computers or programs like photoshop.

This is the original Richter painting from 1974 called 4096, featuring a grid of 64 x 64 squares and, presumably, 4,096 distinct colors.

This image was made by taking a random image and putting the 'noise' filter on it in photoshop, then zooming in tight. Aside from the color palette being more skewed toward magenta than red, I think the resemblance is striking.

The Cologne window is constructed of 11,500 pieces of glass in approimately 4 inch squares, chosen from 72 colors. Looking at this page (in German), it would appear to be constructed without leadlines, most likely with some form of lamination. I'll update if I find more info on this.


I also came across a flickr page with a tantalizing close up of the window, but no info. Also, another article, in German.

[update- August 28, 2007 - An article stating that the Cologne Cathedral window was officially unveiled on Saturday, August 25, 2007. There is a photo gallery, though the article does not mention any additional technical details about method of construction.]

[update August 29, 2007 - a page containing a link to a hi res image]

The Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision

I suppose that it was only a matter of time before the glass curtain wall became the stained glass curtain wall.

nice photos by Iwan Baan


and an interior view -

More on the Netherlands Institute here and here, as well as a New York Times review of the Museum of Sound and Vision

The architects worked with the graphic designer Jaap Drupsteen who refers to it only as NIBG, short for Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid.

This is the only detail I could find of the imagery that is shaped into the cast glass panels. The images apparently relate to Netherlandish media over the decades as Hilversum is the center for television production in the Netherlands.

Again, photo by Iwan Baan

On top of this, there is this very interesting interior wall with more photographic imagery. I assume this was done with a light acid etch or sandblast.

Finally, this image from the flickr set 'NIBG' by michelicto makes it clear that the glass was manufactured at St. Gobain.


Posted by Tom at July 29, 2007 05:52 AM