Concerns rise over famed Chanel glass facade

Chanel store with a glass facade on PC Hoofstraat in Amsterdam
Chanel store with a glass facade on PC Hoofstraat in Amsterdam. (Photo: MVRDV)

Something seems to be going wrong with the famed glass facade of the Chanel store on PC Hoofstraat in Amsterdam, according to trade magazine Vakblad Bouwereld. The stacked blocks and frames of solid glass seem to be cracking. Further investigation will be done, the magazine promises. 

"There are cracks in the glass, particularly in the glass styles and the lintel of the door frames", Bouwereld writes. According to the magazine, the glass bricks are stuck together with very thin glue, which means it has "virtually zero tolerance" - rapidly changing temperatures and expanding and contracting bricks could pose a problem.

The glass shop front was designed by Dutch architects MVRDV and revealed last year. Internationally it was hailed as a piece of art. The glass bricks and frames were developed in collaboration with TU Delft and the heavy, handmade blocks were put together with glue. 

There are indeed patterns through the glass bricks that look like cracks in the glass, but looks can be deceiving, Gijs Rikken of MVRDV said to the Volkskrant. "There are no cracks in the glass, but in the polymer, the adhesive which was used for the vertical joints. There is not a single constructive risk."

Rob Nijsse of TU Delft confirmed this. "It's not nice, but now we can glue the stones in such a way that the problem does not recur", he said to the Volkskrant.

According to the newspaper, both architect and client consider the seemingly cracked facade as part of the experimental nature of the facade.