Going Global

What’s Trending

From super-sized glass, bright, open spaces and an increasing emphasis on energy performance, trends in architectural glazing take shape in projects around the world. Architects are continuing to find ways to use glass and glazing in even more eye-catching ways. In this issue of the Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal, we’re looking at some recent projects that caught our attention.

Heartfelt Spaces

Following sustainable modernisations, the University of Sheffield in London features new spaces. It opened in the spring of 2020, bringing together modern laboratories, offices, lecture halls and communication facilities in the heart of the university. The centrepiece of the new Engineering Heartspace is a central atrium that features a massive curved roof, which links two of the oldest buildings at the university.

Designed by London architect Bond Bryan, the project features white tree-like steel columns that support the approximately 1,400 square meter (approximately 15, 000 square feet) roof, which comprises interlocking triangular glass, spanning the space between the historic buildings with sweeping waves. The roof not only creates a clear distinction between old and new, but also helps improve the energy and carbon dioxide balance of the renovated existing buildings by enclosing their interior façades protectively.

More than 900 glass roof panels, with white silkscreened small dots, were supplied by Eckelt Glas, part of Saint-Gobain Glass Solutions in Austria. Waagner Biro Steel and Glass of Vienna, Austria, was the façade contractor.

The project features Climaplus CoolLite Xtreme 50/22 II solar control glass, which provides solar control and insulation for occupant comfort. The use of high-performance glass also helps reduce energy consumption, while still providing a bright and open space under the glass roof throughout the year.

In addition, the project’s newly designed main entrance adds another striking element to the ensemble. For this purpose, glass fabricator Objektcenter Radeburg, also part of Glass Solutions, used 600 square meters (approximately 6,500 square feet) of the solar control glass Cool-Lite Xtreme 60/28 II.

The project was a British Construction Industry Award 2020 finalist in the Social Infrastructure Project of the Year category.

Jumbo Impressions

The use of oversized glass continues to grow internationally. The new design lab for seating furniture manufacturer Wagner in Langenneufnach (Bavaria), Germany, is one such example. The lab was designed by architect Titus Bernhard of Augsburg, Germany, who envisioned and built a cuboid on top of the former home of the Wagner family. It’s the two opposing long sides that make this addition look completely open due to the size of the glass lites.

With slim steel supports and massive glass, the showroom resembles a floating stage. The two 120 square meter (nearly 1,300 square feet) glass façades on the long sides of the showroom consist of only two insulating glass units (IGU), which were fabricated by sedak, of nearby Gersthofen, Germany. Approximately 20 meters each in length (65.6 feet), the company says these are the largest glass lites ever used in construction worldwide.

sedak produced four triple IGUs for the new showroom. The glass lites are constructed from a double thermally tempered glass laminate with a heat-protection coating and a SentryGlas interlayer from Kuraray. This creates two areas of glass of 117 square meters (1259.38 square feet), each with only a single joint.

“Iconic buildings with large glass areas have so far mostly been realized in the USA, Arabia and other parts of Asia. We are delighted that we are now getting increasing numbers of inquiries from closer to home,” says Bernhard Veh, sedak’s managing director. “Now even in the direct neighborhood of our headquarters.” The project came to life in a close partnership between Wagner and sedak with a focus of “achieving big things together.”

“With mutual vision and courage, companies can create big things together,” says Peter Wagner, managing director and co-owner of the furniture manufacturer. “Here in two senses, the big glass [lites] are representative of the big idea behind the project.”

Going for Gold

Learning through play is the underlying concept of EXPLORiT at the Y-Parc Science and Technology Park, a multi-functional education center in Switzerland completed in 2020. The project from architectural firm Bureau d’architecture Philippe Gilliéron, Yverdon-les-Bains, features a 100-meter-long (328 feet) wing situated in a central location and covering an area of around 14,000 square meters (approximately 15,000 square feet).

Its six-story tower marks the highest point of the entire Y-Parc. The building has a shimmering gold anodized aluminum façade that can be seen from a distance. The project is divided into two main components, connected via a fully glazed atrium that serves as an access level. While one part houses the educational and recreational activities, the other accommodates the shops and offices.

Sustainability, including energy performance, was an important part of the building’s design. Alongside a solar system on the roof, a standalone network for autonomous power supply and a system for heat recovery, the use of triple insulating glazing with the Silverstar EN2Plus thermal insulation layer from Glas Trösch helps ensure the building meets Minergie P energy efficiency standards; this is a label for new and refurbished low-energy-consumption buildings. Progin SA Métal, Bulle, was responsible for façade

“The planning of the fully glazed atrium posed a particular challenge,” says lead architect Mehdi Rouissi. “It was important to us to emphasize the transparent aesthetics of the atrium as a connecting element of both structures, and at the same time meet all of the requirements for heat and sun protection.”

The modern triple-insulating glass offers a number of performance benefits. In the summer, the low solar energy transmission of the Silverstar Sunstop Silver 20 T sun protection layer prevents the atrium from overheating, while the Silverstar EN2plus thermal insulation layer ensures low heat losses in the winter. This approach ensures maximum transparency for the atrium, without the need for roller shutters. In addition, overall energy consumption and CO2 emissions are kept to a minimum thanks to the low heating and cooling requirements.

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