The Glass Palace

The Glass Palace is a modernist building located in Heerlen, Netherlands. It was initially built in 1935 as a fashion house and a department store. But it has since become a cultural center in the city. The original name for the building is the Modehuis Schunk, or Schunk Fashion House. But it was eventually nicknamed as the “Glaspaleis”  or Glass Palace which has become its official name.

Glass Palace History

The Glass Palace was first planned to be built as a fashion house. The idea for the said structure was first commissioned by a fabric merchant by the name of Peter Schunk. It was built in 1934 and was done by 1935. Schunk dreamt to have a modernist building built in the center of Heerlen to serve as a striking department store. The building was first built to be standing side by side with other shops in the area. But it became a free standing structure when a section of the nearby area was given to the city and cleared to create a pedestrian passing.

Glass Palace Features

The Glass Palace was initially built to come up with a modern design for a store that will create an atmosphere of a market. It was planned to have all goods being displayed out front instead of at the back of stockrooms. This idea was considered as quite revolutionary during that time. In this case, the idea of having a shop window for the building was taken to the extreme.

The Glass Palace is a good example of early modernist architecture. Primarily made of glass, steel and concrete, the building’s ground floor is the only exception, being built using added materials such as marble, copper and wood. Each of the floors in the building contains about 30 mushroom shaped pillars that grow narrower as it goes up.

What probably makes the building unique is that there are no walls to be found inside the building except at the back, creating an open atmosphere. Its glass walls do not bear any load, even the basement walls even while they are built using reinforced concrete. Much of the load is being supported by the various pillars found inside.

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