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> The Glass Swing


Structural Glass, Glass tubes, Extruded Glass, 3d printing, Truss structure.

Initiated by

Ate Snijder

Research Team

Ate Snijder, Rob Nijsse, Lennert van der Linden, Christian Louten




The Glass Swing is an attempt to bridge the disparity between the fields of Glass Art and Architectural Glass. Little synergy exists between these two fields: Glass art is sculptural, curvaceous and spectacular. Architectural glass is predominantly plain, flat, and almost invisible. The design attempts to bring together the two fields to create architectural structures that possess the qualities of glass art; addressing form, light, playfulness, elegance and function. The Glass Swing aims to utilize the aesthetic potential of glass while at the same time creating a strong, safe, and functional object. 

The Glass Swing is constructed from structural glass, combined with additive manufacturing of steel. The geometry of the swing is developed by applying the topology optimisation method Bi-directional Evolutionary Structural Optimisation (BESO). BESO removes material from a given domain, to design a structure with optimal stiffness under applied loading and boundary conditions.


The structure of the Glass Swing is created from glass struts. Each strut is composed of five rods, sponsored by Schott. Since glass is preferably loaded in compression, a steel bar is placed in the middle to prestress the glass struts. With slender elements, the dimensions of the glass rods are determined by applying buckling as normative design criterium.


3D printed steel nodes are used to connect the glass struts. The nodes are produced with the Wire and Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technique by RAMLAB. This technique was selected as the geometry of the nodes was highly complex and most of the nodes were unique. WAAM is already successfully applied by RAMLAB to produce structural elements in the maritime industry. Octatube provided steel cast spheres which are used as base material. Bolts are used to connect the struts to the nodes, which allows for easy demounting.


The Glass Swing has been developed by the Glass & Transparency Research Group, a collaboration between BK Bouwkunde and the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geo Sciences. The responsible researchers are Rob Nijsse, Lennert van der Linden, and Ate Snijder. 

Funded by

SCHOTT (Material sponsorship), GlassTec


  • A. H. Snijder*, L. P.L. van der Linden, C. Goulas, C. Louter, R. Nijsse, 2019. The glass swing: a vector active structure made of glass struts and 3D-printed steel nodes. Glass Structures and Engineering (5).



- Glasstec 2019

- GPD Finland 2020

- RDM Rotterdam 2020

- Dutch Design week 2021


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