The Cold Bent Glass Roof of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London


  • M. Eekhout TU Delft
  • S. Niderehe TU Delft




The Victoria & Albert Museum in London was recently extended with its Medieval and Renaissance Galleries. Designed by MUMA Architects (London), an existing outside courtyard has been transformed by the addition of a glass roof into a light filled exhibition space.Due to the existing geometry of the surrounding buildings, and several boundary conditions set by the architects, the surface of the roof could not be flat. Instead, it had to be twisted into an undevelopable hypar surface. Pre-engineering by Dewhurst Macfarlane (London) indicated the possibility of achieving this surface with cold bent glass panels. The experience of Octatube with this kind of surfaces as well as the development of a theory of cold bent glass panels, transformed the possibility into a reality. A further complication of the design rested in the fact that the load bearing construction of the glass roof panels was unusually long, triple laminated glass beams. To provide a suitable fail safe concept for the glass roof, it was insufficient to consider only the separate members of the construction. Instead, to describe the fail safe behaviour of the structure, all parts had to be considered to work together during an emergency situation.





Projects & Case studies


cold bent glass, hyper surface, glass beams, fail safe