In today's Explainer, we take a look at spandrel glass. Spandrel is often used in the construction industry as a visual separator in a building's glazing system. 

Spandrel used in the Aura at College Park development in Toronto, image by Marcus Mitanis

The term 'spandrel' refers to the space between two architectural boundaries, such as the triangular piece of wall between an archway and the corner of that wall. More recently, however, spandrel has also come to indicate an opaque or translucent glass panel separating two windows, a feature typically found on mid-rises and highrises. Since many modern buildings are constructed with a glass facadea cladding system that maximizes views and entering light—the use of spandrel glass allows for opaque elements to be introduced while maintaining the glass exterior.

The bright opaque green spandrel is used as contrast against the curtain wall, image by Marcus Mitanis

Spandrel is designed to hide existing building material components such as electrical systems between floors, walls, and ceilings. Ceramic frit and silicone elastomeric paint are the most commonly used products to ensure the glass is opaque or translucent. The glass, which must be heat treated, can be colour customized as a decorative or contrasting feature or to match the surrounding window wall. 

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