The use of textiles in architecture can cover a wide set of solutions and functions, spanning from buildings, towards geotechnical, aeronautic or automotive fields, etc. Special applications involve textiles in the health care or dressing scenarios. A multitude of other functions can then be found relatively for the use of textiles in building engineering and facades. As far as traditional facades or roofs composed of glass are taken into account, textiles offer a relevant number of potential uses that are specifically focused on energy, acoustic, insulation and even structural goals, in addition to pure architectural objectives. It is known that glass is relatively versatile, but has intrinsic needs and thermo-physical and mechanical features that require dedicated design methods, towards safe design purposes. Glass itself, in the form of constructional material, cannot be directly compared to other consolidated solutions for buildings. The same concept applies to textiles, and to their use to enhance other building components. Besides the key advantages deriving from the use of textiles in glass facades and envelopes—in the form of light, thermal or acoustic insulation, or energy efficiency—special care must be spent for specific structural requirements and performances. In some cases, textiles can in fact offer enhanced resistance to ordinary glass structures. In other conditions, textiles in combination with glass can ensure also enhanced acoustic and thermal performances. A multidisciplinary design approach able to properly fit several objectives should be considered. This paper aims at exploring the actual knowledge on glass textiles, with a focus on available tools and research trends, with careful consideration for structural glass facade applications.
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