Hotels, restaurants and bars are just a few of the many different kinds of commercial and public spaces that are increasingly opting to incorporate structural glazing into their designs. Exploring how glass elements could enhance a building can result in the creation of previously unimaginable designs, increasing the functionality of a space — and even reducing energy and maintenance costs, depending on the solution selected.
Showcasing a property’s interior to pique the interest of passersby is just one of the advantages of architectural glass — understanding its many possible uses will enable architects, clients and contractors to derive maximum benefit from this versatile construction material.
Looking to update a tired aesthetic?
One of the most obvious advantages of incorporating architectural glass into a commercial property design is its visual appeal. Open plan designs — such as glass atriums, for instance — can achieve an even greater sense of spaciousness when the external boundaries are nearly invisible, and also offer a panoramic view of the surroundings.
Keeping the original aesthetics of a property intact is another common concern — glazing can be incorporated in ingenious ways that protect historic design features, while also improving visitors’ ability to view them.
Intelligent uses of architectural glazing from amongst our recent commercial projects include:
New horizons: glass panelling at the Newt Hotel gymnasium
Glass creates a visual bond between the new gymnasium and the surrounding grounds at the Newt Hotel in Somerset. The site of the hotel, Hadspen House, is a 17th century, Grade-II listed estate, with grounds devoted to yielding as much fresh, local produce as possible for the hotel and restaurant.
Honouring the radiant vegetable, fruit and herb gardens that surround the property by raising their visibility was a key design objective. Reducing the sense of a barrier between interiors and the nature outside is achievable with an architectural glass wall — to stunning effect. Overlooking the produce while exercising is now possible with the introduction of a glass panel — the largest single glazed panel in Europe!
Undertaking this project in collaboration with the architects at Invisible Studio, we installed the glass wall in the 150-square metre gymnasium. Glass finished with a highly-reflective exterior surface which functions as a mirror was specially selected to reflect the gardens — achieving privacy for the gym-goers while ensuring the prized plants are foregrounded from all vantage points.
Highly efficient temperature regulation and insulation
Any clients interested in incorporating glass into commercial designs will be pleasantly surprised by the wide range of technologies which can be used in its manufacture. Glass technologies like the mirror glaze featured in the Newt Hotel Gymnasium design can be configured to repel excess heat responsively, and to perform as an effective insulator. Letting the light in with aid of architectural glass no longer requires clients to compromise in terms of higher heating costs or by sacrificing the comfort of visitors.
A local community centrepiece: Aldgate Pavilion
Sometimes the glazed elements of a commercial property design can be instrumental to accentuating its other features — the café that forms the centrepiece of the Aldgate Pavilion is a prime example, with its eye-catching corten steel roof by Make Architects. Standing in a large public area bordered by two heritage listed buildings — Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School and the beautiful St Botolph without Aldgate Church — the directional roof of the café is one of the most futuristic elements of its surrounding landscape.
Opening up the space to its surroundings, PureGlaze sliding glass doors create an unobtrusive entrance to this statement space. Noticeably diminishing any sense of a boundary between its inner and outer seating areas, the PureGlaze glass doors and accompanying glass panelling contribute effectively to the creation of an accessible space for leisure work and play, as intended by the City of London Corporation, who commissioned the project. In a busy inner-city space, designs which foster a sense of community are always an excellent addition — particularly when they are as aesthetically inviting and practically accessible as the café at the Aldgate Pavilion.
Oscar’s Bar at the Odeon, Leicester Square
Named after Odeon founder Oscar Deutsch, Oscar’s Bar was given an ultra-modern update in its 2018 renovation — nationally renowned as an iconic cinema space due to the 700+ premieres it has hosted since it opened in 1937, preserving the celebratory nature of the place while refurbishing it with up to the minute functionality was paramount.
Accordingly, the bespoke glass enclosure contrasts beautifully with the art deco interior elements. The installation not only increases the levels of natural light within the bar, but makes for an iconic addition to the surrounding landscape of Leicester Square. Year-round protection against solar-radiation is achieved with a solar-control coating, while extra-thick blast-resistant glass provides additional levels of security.
Oscar’s bar commands attention with its sleek aesthetic, demonstrating how effectively architectural glazing can function as a construction material on multiple levels, when it is given centre stage. Utilising further structural glass to create the beams that support the bar underscores this message — when it comes to incorporating glass into commercial property design, strength and functionality do not have to come at the expense of style.
Get in touch
Whether you’re considering incorporating architectural glazing into a new commercial property or exploring its potential for a refurbishment, our team of experts would be delighted to discuss your ideas. Get in touch.