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> Restoration of historic structures by Glass



Glass restoration, Historic restoration, Structural glass, Cast glass, Glass in heritage.

Project duration

2017 - ongoing

Initiated by

Dr. ir. F. Oikonomopoulou, Ir. T. Bristogianni

Research Team

Ir. Lida Barou, Dr. ir. F. Oikonomopoulou, Ir. T. Bristogianni


Despite the existence of several charters with conservation principles, there are only general guidelines on the degree of intervention in the restoration of  historic buildings and monuments. Except for the colour and the nature of the materials used, arguments include the degree to which a building can be restored without losing its original aesthetic and historic value. Conservation approaches with traditional building materials, similar or identical to the original ones, bear the risk of conjecture between the original elements and the intervention. On the other hand, the restoration or structural reinforcement of historic monuments by modern techniques may undermine the aesthetical value of the building and impair its authenticity. This project proposes the replacement of missing elements in damaged monuments by structural glass components as an answer to the ongoing materiality debate on restoration approaches. A transparent restoration of the missing parts, using structural glass components, can be a promising answer to this materialization dilemma: it can exhibit the building simultaneously at both its original and current condition, preserving the original historical and aesthetical integrity of the building. But equally important, owing to the mechanical properties of glass, the glass addition can contribute to the structural preservation of the monument.  

Aim of this project is to establish a methodology on the use of structural glass in the restoration of monuments in respect to the international guidelines, as well as the aesthetical and mechanical (structural) compatibility between existing materials and the new glass intervention, addressing as well the aspect of reversibility,  through prototypes and experimental work. Special focus on the experimental work and validation has been given in studying the connection interface between the historic structure and the glass addition, in order for it to be reversible, discreet and yield the desired mechanical collaboration between the two materials.


Conference & journal publications

  • L. Barou, F. Oikonomopoulou, T. Bristogianni, F. Veer, R. Nijsse, 2018. Structural glass: A new remedial tool for the consolidation of historic structures. Heron, 63 (1/2), p. 159-198.

  • L. Barou, F. Oikonomopoulou, T. Bristogianni, F. A. Veer, R. Nijsse, 2020. Fill-in-glass Restoration: Exploring issue of compatibility for the case of Schaesberg Castle, 12th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions, Barcelona, Spain.

  • L. Barou, F. Oikonomopoulou, T. Bristogianni, F. Veer, R. Nijsse, 2018. Dematerialization of the ruins: Glass as a promising restorative material for the consolidation of historic structures. Challenging Glass 6 Conference Proceedings, Delft, The Netherlands, p. 11-26.

  • F. Oikonomopoulou, K. Karron, T. Bristogianni, C. Groot, F. Veer, R. Nijsse, 2016. Restoring and structurally reinforcing historic monuments by glass. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation (SEMC), Cape Town, South Africa, p.593-595.

MSc thesis projects

  • A. Smit, Reconstructing vaults 2.0: The potential of cast glass for reconstructing historical buildings, MSc Thesis, TU Delft, 2020.

  • B. van Nimwegen, Cast Glass Restoration of Marble Monuments, MSc Thesis, TU Delft, 2020.

  • E. Jacobs, Structural consolidation of historic monuments by interlocking cast glass components: A computational analysis of interlocking cast glass brickwork, MSc Thesis, TU Delft, 2017.

  • J. A. Smilde, Transparent restoration of a historic building using structural glass elements, MSc Thesis, TU Delft, 2016.

  • L. Barou, Transparent Restoration, MSc Thesis, TU Delft, 2016.

  • J. L. Borgeld, Transparent restoration of historic buildings by structural glass components, MSc Thesis, TU Delft, 2016.


- Infratech 2017, Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- Bouwbeurs 2017, Jaarbeurs, Utrecht, The Netherlands


3TU. Bouw Lighthouse grant 2016


Contact (at TU Delft)

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