Nobody wants to be stuck in tiny, dark, cramped rooms with artificial lighting. When it comes to interior architecture, most of us want open spaces filled with natural light.
But as any architect knows, those design goals sometimes take a back seat to safety.
Fire codes dictate where architects put walls, doors, and windows, and they set standards for how long those walls, doors, and windows should be able to last during a fire. In too many cases, that’s meant heavy, cement-block walls that cut off natural light.
Over the years, fire-rated glass-ceramics have stepped in to give architects new materials to fill interior spaces with borrowed light while still meeting fire protection codes. Fire-protection-rated glazing blocks smoke and flames during a fire without turning opaque, allowing building occupants to see a clear path to safely exit the building, and allowing fire-fighters to see into interior corridors while fighting the fire. But many fire-protection-rated glazing options require design tradeoffs, from their small stock sheet size to their yellowish
New technology and manufacturing methods are giving architects more options. SCHOTT recently introduced the world’s largest fire-protection-rated glass-ceramic panel, at 51 inches by 99 inches, offering new opportunities for open, naturally lit spaces.