Glass glacier despite climate change

“Glasiären”, Gothenburg: Dimmable glass – Nordic style

A glacier in the middle of a city? That’s something you can only find in Sweden – in Gothenburg. Here, in 2014, “Glasiären”, a six-storey, blue-shimmering office building was built in the trendy quarter of Kvilbäcka/Kvillebäcken. So that this “glacier” – which is exactly what Glasiären means – does not get too warm, the owners decided to use dimmable solar control glass from EControl-Glas (Plauen, Germany). The solar factor and light transmission are automatically adjusted using sensors according to the current solar irradiation and individual preferences – the glass building retains a pleasant working climate throughout the year and is light-flooded and transparent at the same time.

Gothenburg, Sweden: Until recently, the district of Kvilbäcka/Kvillebäcken in the east of the metropolis was one of the city’s less fashionable addresses, but now the area is undergoing a great transformation. As part of a municipal modernization project around 2000 new residential and commercial buildings, shopping centres and restaurants are being built or have already been completed. The quarter is developing into an attractive place to live and work for its population of around 10,000.

Among the new buildings, one is very prominent: Glasiären, the “glacier”. The bluish shimmering new building combines a fitness centre, offices and a parking level within its six floors. It also functions as a noise damper between a residential area and a main traffic artery. The special feature of the building is that almost 1000 square metres of the dimmable glass ECONTROL are set into the façade – making it appear like a Nordic creation out of ice.

Sunglasses for the glass façade

The constructors (AF Gruppen), a leading Norwegian construction company, faced a very special challenge in the realization of this project: the glass façade had to be designed in such a way that the interior does not overheat in the summer but in winter only a minimum amount of warmth is lost.

In order to retain the Nordic-cool, aesthetic appearance of the glacier building, the planners decided to use electrochromic glass. The dimmable glazing reduces the transmission of solar heat by up to 90 percent – making mechanical shading in the form of blinds or shutters unnecessary. The daylight transmission of the glass can be flexibly adapted to the requirements of the users, depending on the weather conditions: in this case it varies between 15 and 55 percent. The electronically controlled glass uses a weather station to detect where the sun is, and is automatically regulated so that the amount of sunlight and heat entering the building suits the prevailing conditions.

Thanks to the switchable glass, the solar factor is flexible: with double-pane insulation glass (ECONTROL 55/12) it varies between 12 and 40 percent. Thus the room-overheating solar energy is kept out in summer (at the highest dimming level), whereas in winter (at the lowest dimming level) it is allowed into the building. The good Ug (thermal transmittance) of the glazing (1.1 W/m2K in double-pane construction) also minimizes heating energy losses in the winter.

Energy efficient, sustainable, aesthetically pleasing

Glasiären is the first building in Scandinavia that uses this glazing to demonstrate energy efficiency and sustainability. Beyond this, the building provides a fine example of a further characteristic of the switchable glass: its aesthetics. The blue shimmer of the glass in combination with the light-blue metalwork elements creates an impressive glacier effect. The solar control glass also makes shading unnecessary, so that the visual form of the building is always maintained.

An important partner in acquiring and realizing the project was the insulation glass manufacturer AGC Interpane (Häsen plant). Sandro Thiel (Sales Manager for the branch): “We have been active successfully for many years in northern Europe. The market for dimmable electrochromic glass has great potential in Scandinavia because especially in this region there is a lot of light but also a lot of shading is necessary.”


Credits board

Glasiären (Gothenburg)

AF Gruppen ASA

Object address:
Glasiären, Gamla Tuvevägen, Kvillebäcken, Gothenburg

what! architecture, Gothenburg

Glass product:

Glass manufacturer:
EControl-Glas Plauen and AGC Interpane Häsen plant

Total cost of project:
around 240 million euros



The blue shimmer of the dimmable glass and metal elements results in a glacier effect.

Photo: EControl-Glas


Download image (300dpi)

ECONTROL reduces the transmission of solar heat and thus maintains pleasant temperatures in the rooms.

Photo: EControl-Glas


Download image (300dpi)

The impressive “glacier” building also shields a residential area from the noise of a traffic artery.

Photo: EControl-Glas


Download image (300dpi)



We will be pleased to answer your inquiries:

EControl-Glas GmbH & Co. KG
Nadine Witt
Tel.: +49(0)3741/14820-116
Fax: +49(0)3741/14820-150
pr nord. neue kommunikation.
Daniel Beutler
Tel.: +49(0)531/70101-0
Fax: +49(0)531/70101-50


Can be printed free of charge. Please send a specimen copy