But glass has a limited ability to be expressive.
This is a section of wall framing a plaza in the pre-Hispanic city of Mitla, in southern Mexico.
Those 2,000-year-old carvings make it clear that this was a place of high ritual significance.
Today we look at those and we can see a historical and textural continuity between those carvings,
the mountains all around and that church which is built on top of the ruins using stone plundered from the site.
In nearby Oaxaca, even ordinary plaster buildings become canvasses for bright colors,
political murals and sophisticated graphic arts.
It's an intricate, communicative language that an epidemic of glass would simply wipe out.
The good news is that architects and developers have begun to rediscover the joys of texture without backing away from modernity.
Some find innovative uses for old materials like brick and terra-cotta.
Others invent new products like the molded panels
that Snohetta used to give the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that crinkly, sculptural quality.
The architect Stefano Boeri even created living facades.
This is his Vertical Forest, a pair of apartment towers in Milan, whose most visible feature is greenery.
And Boeri is designing a version of this for Nanjing in China.
And imagine if green facades were as ubiquitous as glass ones how much cleaner the air in Chinese cities would become.