Schott’s stairway is comprised of 140 fused-glass panels and 195 photovoltaic modules.

Schott’s stairway is comprised of 140 fused-glass panels and 195 solar modules.

SCHOTT, one of the world’s largest and most innovative glassmakers, reports the accomplishment of another first – the combination of solar panels and colored glass in the design of a stunningly beautiful stairway facade, integrated into the walls of the firm’s administration building in Mainz, Germany. Designed by German artist Paul Wurdel, the beautiful solar stairway combines 140 of the firm’s “Artista” fused-color glass panels with 195 irregularly-arranged “Asi Thru” photovoltaic modules from SCHOTT Solar in Putzbrunn, Germany. The 24-meter high “solar façade,” performs three functions. It generates power, lowers energy costs and – thanks to its clear and vibrant colors – also serves as an attractive “business card for the firm,” says Udo Ehlers, head of SCHOTT’s architectural glass sales. “It’s really turned what used to be a rather somber staircase into a colorful world of adventure,” he comments. “You get a rainbow of watercolor images in various shades, and it becomes even more dynamic, when observers move around.” SCHOTT’s plant in Grünenplan, Germany, processed the glass design, and the combination of “fusing glass and solar modules for the first time ever posed a unique challenge for all those involved in the project,” according to Hartmut Glenewinkel, the project’s design consultant and manufacturing director. Glaswerke Arnold, based in Merkendorf, Germany, was given the challenging job of fabricating the triple-layer insulated laminate panel. The outside layer of the module consists of partially tempered glass panes, backed by randomly placed, laminated solar modules.