1998 - 2003 | London, UK

Glass Tube Field

A field of glass tubes inventively support a curtain wall between two new buildings by Foster + Partners, pushing the boundaries of glass.

The project was initiated as a concept design to help define the public space in between two new buildings adjacent to the Tower of London. The final design uses a colourless semi-reflective coating on one inner surface of the laminated glass to reflect light into the shaded areas of the atrium and to play with the superimposition of reflected and transmitted images seen in and through the glass surface.

The design for a field of glass props to support the semi-reflective plane was developed. In the execution of the project initial ideas of colouring the tubes and adding reflective coatings to the glass plane were dropped. (The concept was developed by Foster + Partners).

Each glass tube has a 10mm-diameter post-tensioned stainless steel rod running through the centre that provides the required wind load resistance and braces the wall against excessive deflection. The strength of glass in compression combined with its apparent delicacy contributes to the illusion that the wall is unsupported. Borosilicate glass tube fabrication methods were developed to make the 4m-long tubes, with an approximate thickness and diameter of 10mm and 150mm respectively.

Image (left): Foster & Partners

Image (left): Foster + Partners

Images: Foster & Partners

Images: Foster + Partners

GlassTubeField_Alt 03

GlassTubeField_Alt 04


Tower Place, London, UK

Lead Design

Carpenter | Lowings


Tishman Speyer Realty, UK


Foster + Partners,
London, UK
(Building Architects)
ARUP Façade Engineering,
London, UK
(Façade Engineer)
Waagner Biro,
London, UK
(Façade Contractor)


1998 - 2003