Glazed atrium provides focal point

When architectural practice Scott Brownrigg designed a new building at the headquarters of FTSE 100-listed wealth management business St James’s Place, it wanted to give the building a suitably impressive centrepiece to welcome employees, clients and partners.

This was achieved in the form of a three-storey atrium, created using the Pilkington Planar structural glazing system.

The space sits between the two major elements of the building and is enclosed by a 12.8m-tall vertical entrance screen and glazed roof.

The designers wanted, as much as possible, for the atrium wall and roof to be an uninterrupted surface of glass, and Pilkington Planar provided the solution.

The roof is supported by stainless steel rod tension structure, while the entrance screen features full-height glazed fins, which provide structural strength without compromising on transparency.

The fixings used in the installation are unique to the Pilkington Planar Intrafix system and use the Planar 905J stainless steel fittings in the vertical screen and Planar 902 fittings on the roof, in conjunction with the Planar Nexus castings.

All of the glass is toughened and heat soak tested to provide strength and security to the design, and the double-glazed units that make up the surface consist of an outer 6mm pane of glass, incorporating a high-performance 6mm Pilkington Suncool 50/25 Pro T solar-control coating to help reduce heat build-up in warmer months. This reduces transmission of energy from the sun to just 27%, while allowing 46% light transmission.

On the roof, the inner pane is 19.5mm Sentry Glas laminated using Pilkington Optifloat toughened and heat soak tested glass, while on the entrance screen it is a single 15mm Pilkington Optifloat toughened and heat soak tested glass.

Between the panes of glass is a 16mm-thick argon-filled cavity, contributing to the high level of thermal insulation delivered by the system.

The high-energy performance of the glazing has helped towards the project’s BREEAM Very Good rating.

Jason Eggerton, Pilkington Planar business development manager, said: “This project really shows off the impressive capabilities of the Pilkington Planar system.

“The minimalist rod rigging structure and the ultra-low-profile stainless steel fittings mean there is a spectacular sense of a free-standing wall of glass.”

Paul Williams, managing director at Vitrine Systems, said: “Standing inside the brightly lit atrium and looking up, you get an almost uninterrupted view of the sky, creating a truly impressive sense of space.”