The Flexibility and Style of the Pilkington Planar Structural Glazing System

The flexibility and style of the Pilkington Planar structural glazing system, and the practicality of Pilkington Activ self cleaning glass, have been combined for the first time in the refurbishment of superior office blocks at 54 Hagley Road, Birmingham.

The building, which houses 14,000m² of office space, features 260m2 of Pilkington Planar Activ™ glazing in the atrium at its entrance. The roof consists of 125m2 of Pilkington Planar Activ™, including laminated Pilkington K Glass™ panels with a 1.5mm PVB interlayer. The vertical glazing consists of 135m2 of 10mm Pilkington Planar Activ™ and 6mm of Pilkington K Glass™, with a 16mm cavity.

Nigel Pitt, Senior Manager, Capital and Counties, the owners of the building, said: “The new entrance is quite a complex piece of architecture. The roof has a 22 degree slope with a canopy above it. This impedes access, making it difficult to clean and maintain. This problem was solved perfectly by using a self cleaning glass. Pilkington Planar™ looks good and crisp in terms of architecture and combined with Pilkington Activ™ it provides long-term benefits because it saves money on maintenance costs.”

Ian Cartwright, Project Manager, Bridgetown Developments, oversaw the installation of the glazing, he said: “We had to be inventive to ensure the safety of the installers and to protect the glazing during the project. The glass on the roof is quite difficult to access and is at a steep angle. To reduce risks we harnessed the installers to anchor points on the main link roof of the building. The installers were able to work on the glazing to install each section of glass, which was made possible by customising access ply board placed on the glass to spread the load and guard against breakages. The ply board was ribbed to enable grip and sure footing and rubber padded underneath to prevent movement or slip, and to ensure the glass didn’t scratch.”

Pilkington Activ™ has a unique dual action coating. It works in two ways, firstly it uses daylight to break down organic dirt, such as bird droppings and tree sap, then it uses rain to wash away the loosened dirt in a sheeting action. Pilkington Activ™ also dries quickly to leave the glass with reduced streaking and clear views. When combined with Pilkington Planar™, the world’s leading structural glazing system, it allows architects to create a glass envelope for any building, with fameless façades on any plane that has the added benefit of being self cleaning.

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