Birkhäuser's Basics, Construire en verre [Basics: Glass Construction].


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A window can be a void, an aperture, or a glass surface. Existing at the boundary between interior and exterior, windows admit light and air and frame views. The idea of the window, combined with advances in glass as a building material, became central to architectural experimentation during the modern period.

This selection from the CCA Collection presents a range of modern architectural glass conditions: windows that frame beams of light, long ribbon windows, mechanical windows in glass facades, angular glass panels, transparent glass volumes, and glittering buildings (both imagined and realised) made entirely of glass.

Inspired by the format and content of the Birkhäuser handbook Basics: Glass Construction by Andreas Achilles and Diane Navratil, the hall-case display juxtaposes sketches and technical drawings with photographs of finished buildings, calling attention to the potential of glass as a material for architectural construction and imagination.


Presented as part of Montréal City of Glass: A Tale of Innovation, an initiative of the Board of Montréal Museum Directors (BMMD).

The Starting From… series explores current publications on architecture and highlights materials in the CCA Collection. Past editions have focused on a variety of themes, including books by the photographer Lee Friedlander, unusual approaches to travel, the colour pink in architecture, and bubbles.

Starting From… Windows is the result of a conversation between Meredith Carruthers (Curatorial Coordinator, Programs), Louise Désy (Curator, Photographs), and Howard Shubert (Curator, Prints and Drawings), with ideas contributed by Robert Desaulniers (Head Archivist), Laura Killam (Head of Exhibition Production), and Peter Sealy (Research Assistant).