Imagine a house.
Perhaps it’s a grand palace-like edifice perched on a sun-drenched hilltop overlooking a vineyard that stretches away to the horizon, or maybe it’s much more modest, located downtown and within a short walk of your favourite bars and restaurants.
Whatever you’re picturing and wherever it’s located, the house in your head is unlikely to be a mere structure. Instead, it is an embodiment of your aspirations, a manifestation of your taste, and a representation of your character. That is what makes architecture so special: its ability to be something more than its bricks and mortar. The sum of its parts; its ability to physically and functionally capture an idea and project it onto the landscape.
But the value of architecture is not a modern phenomenon. After all, kings and queens throughout history have built grand palaces. And ancient civilisations have left behind awe-inspiring monuments that cause us to question how such things were possible.
What is a modern phenomenon, however, is the introduction and continual, rapid development of structural glazing. Glass, used for windows, may have been with us for centuries, but its use as a primary building material – rather than a secondary one – has contributed towards the construction of some of the world’s greatest buildings. The Shard, the Louvre Pyramid, the Burj Khalifa, and the Sydney Opera House are all famously stunning. But in this article, we want to highlight some projects that are a little closer to home. In fact, for some, they are home.
The examples we will explore might feature a roof-glazing system that invites the occupant to gaze at the night sky, a glass wall to provide a sense of connectivity between one room and another, or a sliding glass door to welcome guests, but all five will be worthy of merit.
Five stylish examples of architectural glazing
1. A Scottish Retreat
Nestled amongst the rugged beauty of the Scottish highlands is this Victorian hunting lodge, a rustic retreat that evokes romantic images of Chesterfield armchairs, roaring fireplaces and plenty of good single malt whisky. But there is a danger with period properties, even those as grand as this one, that their historical beauty will fade over time, causing them not to look grand, majestic, and quaint, but simply dated, tired and old.
To prevent that from happening, the owners have chosen to breathe life into the first property on our list by constructing a glass box extension. Giving guests the opportunity to seamlessly step from the old into the new. This addition illustrates the versatility of structural glazing, not simply reserved for high-rise buildings and modern new-builds, but contributing a stylish contrast between original architecture and modern innovation.
2. A Winter Wonderland
Often, our view of the outside world is limited to what we can see from our window. We might press our noses to the glass in a fruitless attempt to expand that perspective, but at best this is quite uncomfortable, and at worst it can cause questionable smudge marks that are tricky to clean off.
Staying in our second example of architectural glazing, you would have no such trouble. Instead, your stay would be accompanied by almost unrestricted 360-degree views of the landscape. Which, in the case of the above photograph, happens to be covered in a layer of powdery snow. Thus creating the sense that this is a winter wonderland. This level of stylish luxury glazing has been deployed across hundreds of projects in which the house enjoys impressive views. These views would be lost with a more traditional bricks-and-mortar approach.
3. Central London Living
A trip to London can be an exciting excursion. With so much to see, do, eat and drink, you can quickly become caught up in the exciting energy of this bustling metropolis. Despite its many great qualities, the UK’s capital is also very built up.
That might sound like an obvious statement – after all, 8.8 million people live here. But the abundance of stylish high-rise buildings can cause those left at ground level to feel overshadowed, gloomy even. In our third example of where architectural glazing has been deployed successfully. We see how Londoners can prevent the gloom and instead, invite sunlight into the property through a glass roof, glass walls and a set of glass doors, removing any obstruction to the natural light.
With a traditional opaque ceiling, we might find the space to be quite oppressive. But flooded with natural light, it is a bright, airy place to be, complemented by the bold red and yellow of the furniture. Further enhanced by the sunshine.
4. A Garden Paradise
Britain is a nation of gardeners. In fact, 27 million people, more than 40% of the population, report undertaking a horticultural activity within their leisure time in the past year. Whether that’s pruning, propagating, watering, weeding, mulching, or some other green-fingered activity, we cannot, collectively, get enough of this pastime. We love it so much that it can be a shame when we have to return indoors.
With the fourth property on our list, the separation of ‘in here’ from ‘out there’ isn’t felt quite so strongly. Instead, the two blend together seamlessly, ensuring that if you are in your kitchen enjoying a cup of coffee, you can still gaze out over your domain as if you were standing in it.
5. A Basement Talking Point
Dinner parties are an exciting affair. As a host, they give you the opportunity to invite your friends and family to enjoy your home and revel in its excentricities and quirks. As a guest, they give you permission to be nosey. Generally, small talk might revolve around your record collection, wine selection, or choice of art, but in the fifth example of glazed architecture, our attention (and that of your hypothetical guests) is caught by something a little different.
A glass floor opens to reveal stairs down to a basement, cellar or ‘man cave’. This is a concept that will pique the curiosity of your guests, but it will also keep them safe by acting as a barrier to ensure that nobody unwittingly falls into the resultant gap in the floor. The architectural feature could also be static, simply providing a glimpse of what’s downstairs. Such as an original medieval well that is covered up, or your aforementioned collection of wines.
From the highlands of the north to the urban architecture of the UK capital. We hope that our highlighted projects illustrate the versatility and style of architectural glazing. Whether you want to improve your view of the surrounding landscape or delight guests with something a little different the solutions offered by modern glass are crystal clear.
This article was written by William Messenger on behalf of Cantifix. Cantifix are on one of the leading architectural glazing specialists in the UK. As well as creating innovative glass products, they also collaborate on research into the impact of natural light on our health and well-being.