A wall of glass

Pilkington Planar has been specified for a wall of structural glass along the outward facing side of a property overlooking a fjord in Norway.

When the owner of the property was discussing designs for the building with their architect, maximising sight lines to make the most of its stunning setting was top of the list of priorities

Architect, Per Oscar Haaland, explained: “The view is what makes the house, so one of the biggest requirements for the design was to maximise the occupants’ ability to enjoy it, all year round.

“However, the site is very exposed to the weather. It experiences very high wind speeds and low temperatures, so while we wanted to create the largest possible area of glazing, obviously it was also vital that it would also be very strong and deliver high levels of thermal insulation.

“We identified the Pilkington UK product as the best solution thanks to its ability to create an almost completely unbroken glass surface, its proven structural strength and resilience to weather, and its energy performance.”

The wedge-shaped window is more than 10m wide and almost 5m high at its tallest point, creating a panoramic scene of sea and sky.

And, to maximise the vertical aspect of the view – as well as the amount of natural light entering the building – the window is topped by a 90cm-deep section of roof glazing.

The frameless glazing is lent additional strength by a series of 19-mm-thick toughened glass fins that run the whole height of the window. These allow the toughened vertical glass to stand up to significant wind loads while also supporting the roof glazing, which is able to resist large snow loads as a result.

The units that make up the roof glazing also feature a laminated pane to lend further strength, being made up of an outer 12mm layer of toughened glass and an inner layer formed of two 6mm-thick sheets sandwiching a polyvinylbutyral (PVB) interlayer. The whole system is bolted together with low-profile Pilkington Planar stainless steel fittings.

In order to deliver excellent thermal insulation, the whole window is made up of double-glazed units featuring a 16mm wide air cavity.

As well as helping the building stay warm in cold weather, the glass also helps to prevent it from over-heating on hot, sunny days by including a solar control coating. The outer glass is Pilkington Suncool 66/33, which allows just 33% of the heat energy from sunlight to enter the building, reducing the possibility of excessive heat build-up while still filling the space with natural light and allowing clear views.

Rob Seal, design engineer at Pilkington UK, said: “Thanks to the glazing included in this building, the occupants are able to sit in year-round comfort, despite being surrounded by such a wild and rugged landscape.

“We’re used to seeing Pilkington Planar in large commercial developments and sensitive heritage settings, so it’s great to see it being used so effectively in a small-scale residential application.

“It is also a great demonstration of the suitability of the system for use in the most weather-exposed applications. The system has been developed with the harshest conditions in mind to ensure it is able to stand up to all of the forces nature will throw at it throughout its life.”