The Potential of Glass

In the advancement of urban architecture, glass has played a key role and Şişecam Flat Glass has worked extensively to bring forth glass products catering to safety, functionality and aesthetics. Originating from Turkey, Şişecam Flat Glass is a multinational glass production company with manufacturing facilities in fourteen countries and a presence spanning 150 countries. With an experience of over 85 years, Şişecam Flat Glass has worked with the motto, ‘The world is our market’. Their values are grounded in building fair, transparent and mutually beneficial relationships through knowledge exchange with collaborators in all fields in the construction industry.


Glass can be perceived in two ways – through the lens of materiality and utility. In its innate properties, it offers control on several levels. With the right treatment and application one can modulate heat, light, noise, safety, visual connect, physical connect, ventilation, the feel of a space and aesthetic requirements of a space. Secondly, and more importantly, glass can be perceived as an idea.

How does this material extend as a means to an end to facilitate ideas?

Tracing the roots of its usage, an understanding emerges that historically, glass was used for smaller fenestrations or as fragmented parts of a whole such as in a stained-glass window. What was once a luxury material started to become more accessible during the industrial revolution. As iron and steel construction technologies developed in parallel, the glass and metal combination became key in the modern architecture movement. Glass started to appear in public spaces that demanded naturally well-lit large spaces. As towering glass-clad skyscrapers started rapidly dotting the horizons, developments in structural glass led to the material playing a critical role in today’s urban architecture. In a tropical climate like India, where heat is unavoidable, the usage and sourcing of this material evokes careful consideration. In this context, Şişecam Flat Glass is one of the world’s leading glass producers that is set apart by its brand values. As General Manager of Şişecam Flat Glass India, Mukesh Sharma articulates, Şişecam believes that glass is not a commodity, but a functional product that adds value to the user.

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PRAXIS | 10 Studio ii

An editorial project by Matter in partnership with Şişecam Flat Glass, PRAXIS investigates the work and positions of diverse contemporary architecture practices in India. In this conversation, Mitul Desai and Priyank Parmar of Surat-based Studio ii reflect on their influences, and reveal the intensive process behind understanding architecture, details and the making of projects that lies at the core of their practice. They provide an insight into the ethos of a collaborative dynamic, and modes of thinking based on values and meaning.

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Prem Nath: The Architect’s Performance

In conversation with Prem Nath of Mumbai-based Architect Prem Nath and Associates, we discuss the numerous obstacles traversed in his architectural journey, as well as some of the landmark projects that brought him to the forefront of contemporary architecture in India.


The following text is the edited transcript of the interview conducted with Prem Nath at his Mumbai office, on the 14th of October, 2021


I. Origins

Everybody always asks me this question – “Mister Prem Nath, how did you become an architect?” It seems almost like a miracle, that I became an architect.

Back in my time, in the 1950s, pre-independence – people did not know what an ‘architect’ was. Engineers, overseers and mistris (labourers), were common terms known to people, but they had never heard of the term, ‘architect’. I myself had no idea what architecture was. I became an architect by fluke, you may call it. Maybe fate had determined I was to become an architect through a series of random events, and I had no idea at the time.

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PRAXIS | 09 URBAN DESIGN COLLECTIVE

An editorial project by Matter in partnership with Şişecam Flat Glass, PRAXIS investigates the work and positions of diverse contemporary architecture practices in India. Vidhya Mohankumar, founder of Chennai-based Urban Design Collective, elaborates on the collective processes and multi-dimensionality of their urban design practice, publications and fora. The discussion addresses the priorities and learning curves of pursuing such a model, of expanding the discourse on shaping how we live and interact with cities, networks and its systems, participatory planning and research.


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Niveditaa Gupta: On Architecture Photography

In conversation with Niveditaa Gupta, we discuss the various narratives that drive a contemporary photograph, along with the values and potential of architecture photography in India.


The following text is the edited transcript from the conversation with Niveditaa Gupta, conducted on December 13th, 2021


CHAPTER 01: ORIGINS [00:25]

Part I – The Theory of Photography [00:39]

I never anticipated that I would get into photography. I was not interested in photography as an amateur passion that you pick up while you are in architecture or design school, because we had a lot of photography exercises, but I never felt that I could use the camera to photograph things which I might be architecturally interested in. As part of my dissertation, I wrote a paper on architecture photography. In the fourth year of architecture school, everybody had to write a research paper, and so I went through the archives of architecture photography all over the world, to study just how the evolution of photography happened over the years.

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