Trosifol: re-interpretation of the glass block communicates positive symbolism

The exterior glass wall of the cemetery in the center of Tisens, Italy uses modern and classic architecture

The extension of the cemetery in the center of Tisens, Italy uses PVB films from Trosifol to create special ‘glass blocks’ for an open area, no longer isolated from every-day life.

The extension of the cemetery in the center of Tisens, Italy sets the scene for an entirely new symbolism of glass as a material. Known in Italian as Tesimo, Tisens is a village with a population of about 2,000 in the Etsch valley, south of Meran, in Italy’s South Tyrol.
In this project, it was decided from the outset that the cemetery and church would not be closed off to the village centre, but instead would be open, inviting locals and visitors to drop in or take a walk.
A community-sponsored competition was won by the architects Dr. Werner Tscholl and Dr. Andrea Palaia. The architects envisioned a space where people would regard the cemetery extension as part of their daily lives rather than to visit it solely at times of grief or to tend a grave.
By incorporating it in the daily flow of pedestrian traffic, the designers have lifted the cemetery out of its isolation and integrated it as a thoroughfare for everyday life. The cemetery becomes part of the present while remaining a timeless location.
The project creates a new, autonomous area of the cemetery that outwardly expresses the visible signs of both modern and classical architecture.
For the exterior glass wall, Sametec assembled 220 blocks of laminated safety glass, 20-50cm wide and 1.3-4.2m long and composed of eight panes.
With monumental components – yet with an overall design emphasizing lightness – the L-shaped glass wall derives its impact from the glass’s subtle transparency. This transparency is incorporated into the funeral parlour, where the interior glass wall benefits from a special quality of backlighting via the outer walls. In addition, the entire wall can be illuminated with LED lighting to suit certain occasions.
The glass wall is the work of Italian company Sametec srl (formerly Santoni Vetri snc), from Arco in northern Italy. The wall is in fact composed not of conventional glass blocks but of blocks comprising several panes of laminated safety glass containing 0.76mm thick Trosifol® UltraClear polyvinyl butyral (PVB) films. The glass plies were joined together using vacuum bags, a process that does away with the need for autoclaving.
Overall, the building consists of 3,200 sq.m. of 19mm float glass. For the interior of the funeral parlor, Sametec used this glass to produce 180 blocks of laminated safety glass 20cm wide and 3.21m long, each comprising 10 panes. Another 80 blocks of laminated safety glass comprised of 10 glass plies each were produced, also 20cm wide, but in lengths ranging from 20 to 370cm. For the exterior glass wall, Sametec assembled 220 laminated safety glass blocks, 20 to 50cm wide and 1.3 to 4.2m long and composed of eight panes. It also produced blocks of laminated glass varying in height from 1 to 4m.
Each of these laminated glass blocks comprise 10 to 12 panes with the associated PVB interlayers. The various blocks, indoors and outdoors, were bonded together with silicone.
The interior glass wall of the funeral parlour benefits from a special quality of backlighting via the transparent outer walls. The wall consists of several panes of laminated safety glass containing 0.76mm thick Trosifol® UltraClear Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) film.
Trosifol™ is the global leader in PVB and ionoplast interlayers for laminated safety glass in the architectural segment. With the broadest product portfolio Trosifol™ offers outstanding solutions. Sandro Santoni, Managing Director of Sametec explains: “Without Trosifol we probably wouldn’t have been able to realize the project at all. Because they were the only people to give us the technical support we needed to execute the project. Even if it initially sounds easy and even though we’ve got plenty of experience of laminated safety glass, we experienced a number of surprises with the thick glass blocks on site. And we only managed to successfully overcome these problems thanks to the support on site from Dr. Cengiz Ergün from Trosifol Technical Service.”