Apple has ensured yet another one of its glass structures will remain one of a kind for at least 14 years.

Photo: Warren R.M. Stuart, Flickr
Photo: Warren R.M. Stuart, Flickr

The electronics giant was awarded a patent last week for its glass cylinder store entrance design, which was put into life at the company’s Shanghai flagship store. The late Steve Jobs is listed as one of the inventors, along with structural glass engineer James O’Callaghan of Eckersley O’Callaghan and six others.

Apple has deeply etched itself into the architectural glass arena thanks to its numerous structural glass designs over the past decade. Most recently, it was granted a patent for its “Glass Lantern” store design in Istanbul. Earlier this year, Apple was also awarded patents for its glassy store designs in Zhongjie Joy City, China and West Lake, China.

The company earned a patent last year for its well-known “Glass Cube” flagship store in Manhattan and has accumulated other architectural glass patents in the past, including its various glass staircase designs.

Apple, which had been awarded a prior patent for the Shanghai store design, filed for this one in April of 2012.

“Glass structures … must meet structural requirements for their particular operation, and must support loads and forces of expected magnitudes,” the background portion of the application filing reads. “Because of the structural requirements for supporting such loads and forces, glass pieces used in such glass structures may be formed of a laminate structure that includes layers of glass and bonding materials. A laminate structure is much stronger than any one layer by itself and thus it can support loads and forces of greater magnitude.

“For long spans of single, or monolithic, glass panels, however, the conventional laminate structure may deflect for lack of sufficient support, and may be unsuited to withstand some loads or forces of great magnitude. Such difficulties have conventionally prevented the creation of large buildings made of large glass panels and supports, because the structural properties needed to construct the buildings limited the size of the glass panels that could be used. This is particularly problematic in the case of structures with curved walls, such as a cylindrical shaped building.”

The invention related to the Shanghai store design, according to the filing, is “a building panel and a building formed therefrom, where the building includes a plurality of building panels arranged to form a cylindrical shape, where each panel comprises a single, or monolithic, glass piece, where each glass piece is substantially rectangular and includes two opposing long sides extending in a height direction and two opposing short sides extending substantially in a width direction, and where each glass piece forms an identical circular arc when viewed from either of the two opposing short sides.”

[Read the full application text here]

USGlass magazine recently spoke with O’Callaghan in an exclusive interview, where the engineer elaborated on Apple’s role in the glass industry and how the company continues to push the envelope with structural glazing. Check it out here.

Apple is currently building its new headquarters in California, which is utilizing more than 800 oversized façade lites produced by sedak.