Rob Nijsse

Professor of Structural design

Glass is the new concrete

Crystal Houses is an apt name for the Chanel flagship store that opened in the spring of 2016 in Amsterdam; the bottom half of the façade is made of glass bricks. Architecture firm MVRDV wanted to give the store a stylish and transparent look, while maintaining the architectural character of the site. With the help of professor of Structural Design Rob Nijsse at TU Delft bricks of glass were developed to mimic the original design of the façade. The Crystal Houses were earlier this year chosen among the Buildings of the Year 2017 by Arch Daily.

Nijsse has been called the Glass Professor, since the engineer especially focusses on the use of glass in construction. ‘From a sustainability perspective it is very suitable: it’s 100 per cent recyclable and it doesn't rust’, Nijsse says. At the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft he explores how glass can be made into a safe and strong material for different construction purposes.  

Nijsse couples his scientific work to his job as director and senior constructions advisor at ABT Engineers. There he works on complex and special projects, such as the new building for Rabobank in Utrecht and a high-rise office building in Seoul. Among his well-known glass constructions are the 100 per cent glass bridge in Rotterdam linking two office blocks, and the pavilion for the Sonsbeek sculpture exhibition.

Chrystal Houses, Structural Design, Glass, TU Delft, Sustainability, Architecture, Netherlands PINC.18