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"The Glass Curtain Architecture of Bellevue, Washington"

“The Glass Curtain Architecture of Bellevue, Washington”features over 120 photographic images captured by artist Marques Vickers portray the predominantly glass surfaced multi-level constructions in Bellevue.

Straddling Lake Washington and connected to urban Seattle by two floating bridges, Bellevue is considered an Eastside boomburg (booming suburb). The contemporary city features a clustered downtown concentration of high-rise glass skinned office and commercial structures. Bellevue, which translates into beautiful view in French, is a 37 square mile community with a population of 135,000. The cornerstone development is the Bellevue Square shopping center. Enlargement has expanded significantly beginning with the 1990s technology industry expansion.

Vickers commentary includes an introductory essay on the evolution of high-rise structures dating from the ancient Roman era to contemporary design. Vickers traces the increased evolution of glass exteriors based on a fundamental architectural shift in structural emphasis beginning in the 20th century. Masonry based walls supporting the weight of structures were replaced by steel spined framing. The load-bearing hollow cylinders supported wall curtains, which ultimately made glass panes an ideal fixture.

The traditional considerations for employing glass have included economics, ease and speed of installation and weight factors. Although significantly lighter than masonry, glass high-rises have comes under increasing criticism and scrutiny for issues including energy consumption, CO2 emissions, privacy, slippage and projected lifespan.

Economics, engineering and construction management remain essential elements to preserving an equilibrium between beauty and practicality. Significantly sized glass curtains may ultimately be de-emphasized with shifting building design preferences, particularly in moderately scaled suburban backdrops. In Bellevue, the sleek and gleaming reflective glass curtains still reign. The future and composition of Bellevue’s skyline will undoubtedly mirror the fortunes and ambitions of advanced high technology.

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