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Transparency in the Determination of Automotive Typologies

2001, Thessaloniki / G.D.Liamadis


Transparency is a key element in the language of automotive design. Automotive glass, apart from satisfying fundamental requirements such as protection and visibility, plays a significant and complex role in the determination of automotive typologies and forms. However, glass is by far the material with the most constraints in automotive design and manufacturing. Continuous technical improvements, together with the introduction of plastic alternatives such as polycarbonate, now allow automotive designers a far greater freedom in the use of transparent areas on cars. What -in the language of architecture- is called relation between full and empty space, indicates the function and character of a vehicle, orientate reflections of light and images of the environment and change the drivers’ subjective perception of internal space, speed and safety. Furthermore, extended glass surfaces –an all-time designer’s favourite theme- are somehow related subconsciously in consumer’s minds with advanced technology. Latest research has shown that through transparency and subsequently increased eye-contact with pedestrians and other motorists, drivers tend to be more socially aware and sensitive regarding the consequences of their actions. In addition, defrosting windscreens with incorporated radio aerial, heat-reflectant glass that absorbs and reflects back infra-red rays, anti-intrusion, anti-wind, anti-sound and water-repellent glass perform a wide variety of functions in favour of car users comfort and safety. Variable opacity (electrochrome) glass will soon allow an adjustable privatization of car’s interior space according to user’s needs. These are only few of the arguments advocating that transparency is further enforcing its role in shaping the future of automotive forms and determinate new typologies.

Balkan Conference "Transparency in Architecture: Full and Empty Space". Department of Architectural Design ang Technology, Faculty of Architecture, School of Technology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University Studio Press, Thessaloniki, Greece, pp. 373-384

  Transparency in the Determination of Automotive Typologies