Performance vs looks: a view

Different buildings have differing needs with respect to aesthetics, performance and function, but few building materials can have as great an impact on all three as glass. Guardian Glass reports on getting the balance right

The aesthetics, performance – and the function – of glass are intrinsically linked; one cannot be considered without the others. Many aesthetic qualities of glass products can be provided with multiple performance features – and vice versa. Choose the right glass and architects can benefit from the best possible performance combined with the most appealing look. In the last few decades, the glazing industry has been involved in a ‘performance race’, but with performance improvement increments becoming smaller and smaller as glass technologies mature. Often these minor performanc improvements come at a cost – of decreasing the aesthetic appeal of glass. If we were to improve glass selectivity (i.e. the ratio between light transmission and solar factor), the aesthetics of the glass and the colour of the light inside the building would probably not be desirable for either the architect or for the comfort of the building’s occupants. For glass facades today, the trends are for neutrality, high light transmission, reflectivity (glass that is highly reflective or that has as little reflection as possible), big glass sizes, and shapes (e.g. curved or bent glass). Forward-thinking manufacturers share a goal to provide the highest performing as well as the most attractive glass products. By encapsulating flexibility, colour and function, our products help architects realise their most inspired visions. Glass manufacturers are working very hard to provide their customers with glass products that are high performing but without compromising on the aesthetics. We recently launched a new glass product that shows improved aesthetics with a more neutral and consistent colour, regardless of the viewing angle. A recent exemplar project demonstrates what can be achieved.

Case study: La Casa del Desierto

SunGuard SNX 60 was selected for La Casa del Desierto (‘The Desert House’) project. This was a demanding but creative project which was completed recently in the Gorafe Desert in Spain. It had one clear objective: to demonstrate first hand, across the four seasons, the importance of glass in our daily life and in one of the most adverse and extreme environments in Europe. La Casa del Desierto stands on a wooden structure and is fully glazed using energy efficient Guardian Glass products. The design of this innovative and highly energy efficient house is the result of the combined efforts of a large as well as experienced team of architects, together with a variety of glass specialists, engineers and consultants. The team was led by Spela Videcnik of OFIS Architects working with Guardian Glass and energy consultants from AKT II and Transsolar.

Working with partners to solve specific issues

Many manufacturers work closely with industry partners to propose efficient glass solutions to their customers, which are fully tested and approved for specific applications and for solving specific challenges. This means that it is our aim to propose specific solutions to architects, cladders and our customers, which will address the problems they face.