Thursday / January 31, 2019 / 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Designing Transparency

Perkins+Will, 410 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600 (Wrigley Building)


New uses of glass and its unique properties in architecture continue to develop every year. This presentation highlights how architecture and structural engineering can be combined, using creative structural solutions and the latest technology in fabrication and post-processing to create all types of architectural uses of glass.

Carl D’Silva, FAIA and Terry McDonnell, PE, SE will present some of the most recent developments of how glass can be successfully used to solve physical, environmental, and structural project goals. They will show how structural glass and the material and fabrication processes can achieve innovative designs. The session features case studies including O’Hare Terminal 2 cable wall, Ottawa curving insulated glass fin wall, Willis Tower glass boxes (pictured above), and Calgary glass pedestrian bridge. Other project samples include glass sculptures, glass security walls, and fire-rated glass. Carl and Terry will also cover existing codes and guidelinest to help designers choose the right glass right for a project, and anticipated guidelines and standards that will be introduced into the US in the next few years.

Breakfast will be provided.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of glass.
  • Understand how glass can be used as a variable cohesive material on a large scale.
  • Identify methods of production and how they relate to overall finish and consistency.
  • Learn the environmental physics of glass use in buildings.
  • Learn about methods of adhering glass other than typical laminates to produce structures.
  • Understand various methods of supporting glass and their resulting effects both structurally and architecturally.

Click here to register.

AIA members: use code AIACSI35 to get the member rate.


Carl D’Silva, FAIA, Managing Principal, Perkins+Will in Chicago, has balanced his development as an architect on both design and technical concentrations. This decision stems from the belief that successful buildings require architects that have a broad understanding of all aspects of the project. His technical background was developed through detailing and design coordination on large complex projects such as the Sony Center in Berlin, Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, O’Hare Airport FACE expansion in Chicago, Doha Convention Center and Tower in Qatar, Suning Olympic Plaza West Tower in Nanjing China, and the new Diablos Baseball Stadium in Mexico City. Carl has written and presented multiple case studies for tensioned cable facades and fabric membrane structures. 

Terry McDonnell, PE, SE, PEng, SECB, Principal with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger in Chicago, has over twenty years of structural engineering experience. By combining the practical, with modern advances in the building industry, Terry commits every day to a process of turning ideas to reality. Terry's past experiences include a broad and deep range of services in design, adaptive reuse and investigation of glass structures. Representative past projects include UBS Tower and its cable net wall; Washington Wabash Train Station, Chicago; Union Station, Toronto; Apple Store, Chicago; Eaton’s Centre glass bridge. Terry keeps up-to-date with engineering advances by actively participating in the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, and the Glass Use in Buildings and Laminated Glass Walkways and Railings Standard ASTM E06 Committee for which he wrote a working standard on the comprehensive use of structural glass in building design. In addition, he is also on the Standard Practice for the Design of Amusement Park Rides Standard ASTM F24 Committee. Terry is a past president of the Structural Engineering Association of Illinois (SEAOI).


Sponsored By

SEAOI; co-sponsor AIA Chicago; promotional partner CSI Chicago

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