A Comprehensive Guide to Glass Skylights: Types, Designs, Applications

Glass skylights are essential to modern architectural design, providing natural light, weather protection, thermal insulation, and aesthetic appeal. They have become increasingly popular due to their unique characteristics, distinguishing them from other architectural decorative elements, such as building curtain walls. A glass skylight is a structural system comprising a supporting structure and a translucent panel, which includes the face glass and supporting framework. This blog post will explore the different types of glass skylights, their designs, and their applications in contemporary building design.

Glass Skylight Shapes

  1. Single glass skylights: incline, double slope, four slopes, half-circle, quarter-circle, linear, cone, and pyramid shapes, irregular shape, etc.
  2. Glass skylight clusters (combinations of multiple single glass skylights): continuous and intermittent styles.
  3. Integrated glass skylights (combining various glass skylights and glass curtain walls into a unified system).
Glass Skylights

Types of Glass Skylights

Glass skylights are classified based on the material used for their supporting structures: exposed frame glass skylights, concealed frames glass skylights, and glass frame glass skylights. Glass skylights are ranked based on their installation location: open skylights, closed skylights.

Exposed frame glass skylights

Most framed glass skylights are constructed by embedding glass in a lattice of sloping and horizontal elements, which are then secured by pressure plates. The glass encloses, while the lattice forms the inset groove. Typically, only the framework is attached to the supporting structure, which transmits the weight of the skylight and wind and snow loads. The glass framework is a distinctive feature of the design of framed glass skylights and is visible on the exterior surface of the building.

Glass skylights

Concealed frames glass skylights

Concealed frames glass skylights utilize a structural glass assembly method to install the glass, eliminating the need for pressure plates to secure it. No aluminum rods are protruding from the surface of the glass on the exterior surface, creating a flat and uninterrupted surface on the skylight. This allows rainwater to flow freely without obstruction. This type of skylight’s main feature is without visible frames.

Concealed frames glass skylights

Glass frame glass skylights

These skylights employ glass as the primary structural material, with large glass panels bonded together using glass ribs to create a load-bearing system. Examples include rear-mounted, overlapping, flush, and projecting styles.

The glass of the glass frame glass daylighting roof should use heat-reflective laminated glass or insulating glass, which can prevent glare, and the heat transfer coefficient is low, which can prevent condensation.

Open skylights

Installed on corridors or canopies, they provide an open-air experience and natural ventilation.

Open skylights

Closed skylights

Positioned on top of enclosed spaces, such as roofs or ceilings, they offer controlled lighting and thermal insulation.

Closed skylights

Applications of Glass Skylights in Engineering Projects

  • Atriums and top-floor of office and hotel buildings create well-lit and visually captivating spaces.
  • The roof of the terminal building and waiting car building of the airport and station should be equipped with a large area of light-transmitting parts.
  • Sports stadiums incorporate glass skylights in their roof structures, enhancing the overall ambiance of the venue.
  • Botanical gardens, exhibition halls, and museums employ transparent glass skylights to connect indoor and outdoor environments seamlessly.
  • Iconic landmarks often feature glass skylights as a distinctive architectural element, offering stunning views and a sense of openness.


Glass skylights
Glass skylights


Glass skylights have emerged as a crucial component in contemporary architectural designs, delivering many advantages, including abundant natural light and reliable weather shielding. By gaining insights into the diverse types, methods, and performance characteristics of glass skylights, it becomes feasible to select the ideal glazing purposefully. Whether you are embarking on a project for commercial, residential, or institutional purposes, glass skylights hold the potential to create functional, sustainable, and visually captivating spaces. Should you require assistance choosing the optimal glazing for your glass skylight endeavor, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We are dedicated to helping you find the perfect glazing solution tailored to your specific requirements.