Q6Q7 Shopping Mall | Tension Member Assemblies

Q6Q7 Shopping Mall | Tension Member Assemblies

Max Planck Institute | Tension Rod Systems

Max Planck Institute | Tension Rod Systems

DHL Stadium | Stadium

DHL Stadium | Stadium

Berlin Hauptbahnhof | Cable Net Glass Facade

Berlin Hauptbahnhof | Cable Net Glass Facade

The Royal Library | Cable Net Curtain Wall

The Royal Library | Cable Net Curtain Wall

Structural Glass Systems

PFEIFER Structures seamlessly assists clients in the design, engineering, and installation of structural AESS steel, rod, and cable net supports for a variety of structural glazing solutions, such as laminated glass or double-laminated insulated glass with point-supported glass, clamp-supported, and fin-supported.

Structural glass systems are supported by customized steel structures. The option of Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel can be designed as trusses, simple span elements, planar lattices, outriggers, and even grid shells. The option of steel rods allows for thin, lightweight canopy stays, clevises, and other aesthetic, structural elements. The option of steel cable in rectangular, radial or other geometric arrays provides the thinnest expansive tension system for facades and canopies. These structural systems with PFEIFER’s expertise can also be used for metal-framed glass systems by other contract glaziers.

Applications can be designed in a low-pitched slope for glass canopies all the way to the expansive lites of an impressive cable-net, clamp-supported glass enclosure. A structural glass system can achieve an almost limitless combination of colors, patterns, shapes, applications, and styles. The timelessness of glass, combined with a state-of-the-art structure, can strongly assist in the prominence of a project and have a positive lasting influence on its surroundings.



  • High precision aesthetic
  • Minimal visual impact by the structure
  • Glass substrates are available in various tints from low-iron, clear, gray, blue, green, and bronze
  • Glass can be patterned into different geometry
  • Ceramic frits are offered in standard or custom patterns and colors
  • Interlayers for exterior application are available in clear and translucent white
  • Engineered glass can provide shallow slopes without ponding
  • Superior strength and durability
  • Made with recycled content
  • Long-term weatherability
  • Absorbs noise

Contact us to get more information about our glazing structures, or to get a free consultation with the most experienced designers and engineers in the lightweight structure industry. Fill out the contact form on this page or call us toll-free at 1-877-887-4233.

Get A Free Consultation

Get a free consultation with the most experienced designers and engineers in the industry.

Technical Details


  • Glass is manufactured in various thicknesses from 1/8″ to 3/4″
  • Sheet sizes up to 300” x 130” (25’-0” x 10’-10”, 635 cm x 275 cm)
  • Substrates in low iron, clear, blue, green, bronze, gray
  • Pattern and custom frits in a variety of colors
  • Laminated with clear and white translucent interlayer for exterior, multi-color interlayers for interior
  • Insulated glass assemblies with standard and warm edge spacers
  • Comes in a variety of low-e coatings

The high-performing transparent nature of glass provides elegance and endless creativity to a project.

Point and Clamp Fittings

Point fittings of stainless-steel alloy penetrate through monolithic, laminated, and even insulated glass assemblies as they are connected to the supplemental structure. Clamp fittings are similar but do not penetrate the glass; rather, they clamp around the perimeter of the glass lite as they again connect to the structure. Either of these methods is a minimalist solution to fasten the glass planes to the tendrils of the structure.

Supplemental Structure

The simplest and most cost-effective supplemental structure is made from HSS tubes anchored vertically and horizontally in the design layout. This creates a framework of support whereby the steel can bear the weight of the fittings and the glass.

Steel trusses are much more complex than simple HSS tubes and have a wide variety of shapes and solutions. The advantage of trusses is that they have deeper and cross-braced structures that provide longer spans.

Glass fins are the engineered method to resist wind loads and, in some cases, to carry dead loads. Each fin is anchored top and bottom and connected to each lite of the enclosure. This system is the most transparent of the solutions because each glass lite is held with minimal steel and is sealed directly to the adjacent glass lite, meaning there are no mullions nor insulated glass air spacer to interrupt the field of view.

Cable Net systems have a large span capacity in height and width in holding glass. The span is achieved from cables stretched and maintained in tension. The tension forces require substantial secondary steel around the perimeter of the opening, providing compression to counter the tension.  As the cables are anchored to the secondary steel, they are placed vertically and horizontally so that at their intersection, a point/clamp fitting is placed for optimal support of the glass. The glass is installed on the outboard side of the cables fastened to the point/clamp fittings. The expansive, airy nature of a cable net structural glass facade is a spectacular enclosure to observe.

Grid2Shell is a proprietary self-supporting metal and glass roof enclosure system that bases its geometry on fractals and bases its connections on standardized mounts. The result is a long-spanning light-weight triangular glazed structure that can accommodate amorphous shapes over large spans.  Seeing a structure like this is truly inspiring.

Applicable CSI Divisions

08 44 26.23 Cable Framed Point Supported Glass Curtain Walls
08 44 26 Structural Glass Curtain Walls
08 44 23 Structural Sealant Glazed Curtain Walls
08 44 26.13 Glass Framed Point Supported Glass Curtain Walls
08 44 33 Sloped Glazing Assemblies

10 73 13.36 Point Supported Glass Awnings
10 73 16.23 Fabric Canopies
10 73 16.33 Glazed Canopies
10 73 16.36 Point Supported Glass Canopies
10 73 26 Walkway Coverings
10 73 26.23 Fabric Walkway Coverings
10 73 26.33 Glazed Walkway Coverings
10 73 26.36 Point Supported Glass Walkway Coverings

AIA continuing education unit course anatomy of a tension structure

Architects, Learn About Fabric Structures & Earn An AIA CEU Credit

Take our Anatomy of a Tension Structure AIA-approved Continuing Education course which will earn you 1.00 HW LU upon successful completion of a short quiz at the end. This presentation will inform you on the design, forms and uses, available materials, components and details, and the design/build process for tensile membrane/tension fabric structures.

Take CEU Course

LEARN from PFEIFER Structures Glass Structures

LEARN from PFEIFER Structures

Visit LEARN From PFEIFER Structures where we provide educational resources for architects, engineers, and others interested in tensile membrane structures, cable structures, retractable structures, and facades.