Structural glazing at station delivers elegance

Public Sector Mon, Oct 21, 2019 10:53 AM

When it comes to glazing in public places with the heaviest footfall, toughness is the number-one priority – but that doesn’t mean compromising on aesthetics, as the glazing at the newly refurbished, manta-ray-shaped Abbey Wood station demonstrates.

Abbey Wood station is currently served by Southeastern rail services and has been re-developed by Network Rail as part of the Crossrail project. The station will serve the anticipated increase in demand for the Elizabeth line, creating a new pedestrian concourse covered by a striking zinc-surfaced wing structure. The eye-catching new building is already attracting new business and investment to the area.

Travellers enter the new station though a welcoming entrance lobby with a double-height glazed entrance façade which includes both flat and elegantly curved glass.

To maximise sight-lines and minimise framing – which would break up the view of the impressive roof-line – the designers specified the Pilkington Planar structural glazing system.

The high volume of public footfall passing through this busy glazed entrance meant that the façade had to be durable and robust to impacts.

This was achieved by specifying 21.5mm laminated units. The glass features a unique SentryGlas interlayer by Kuraray to deliver stronger and lighter laminated glazing compared with traditional polyvinyl butyral (PVB)-based systems, giving greater strength to the system and enhancing safety. The glazing was connected back to the steel structure using Pilkington Planar stainless steel castings.

In some areas, to enhance the visual impact of the curved areas – as well as to hide some of the internal structure – a ceramic frit has been applied to the glass. This also helps to make the ground-level glazing visible to pedestrians where appropriate.

The units have been curved to complement the flowing lines of the station roof and an acid-etched frit was applied to some units to further enhance the design and make ground-level glass visible to pedestrians where appropriate.

To further enhance the clarity of the façade, Pilkington Optiwhite true low-iron glass was used, giving a natural clarity colour balance to the light passing thorough.

Elsewhere in the station, laminated glass fitted using the Pilkington Planar system was used to create balustrades and bannisters for stairways and exposed edges, to help create a sense of openness across the station, as well as lending a contemporary aesthetic.

Again, Pilkington SentryGlas laminated glazing was used to create these elements, providing the high level of durability required for the application.

Paul Williams, managing director at Vitrine Systems, said: “The Pilkington Planar system has a number of big advantages when creating projects like this, where outstanding standards of robustness and aesthetics are required to achieve the dramatic feature glazing.

“As you would expect, it’s tested to be robust enough for use in extremely busy spaces, but it also has a very pleasing aesthetic design, with low-profile stainless-steel fixings that allow the glass itself to be the star of the show.

“When it comes to installation, the simplicity of the system and the speed with which it can be fitted mean it’s possible to meet demanding build schedules.”

Jason Eggerton, UK specification manager at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, said: “Testing and development of the Pilkington Planar system using SentryGlas interlayers has helped to provide a structural glazing system that delivers unrivalled strength. It uses thinner substrates than previously possible meaning lighter structures, larger glass panels and potentially fewer stainless steel fittings.

“Abbey Wood station is an excellent showcase for Pilkington Planar, demonstrating how it can help achieve a designer’s vision by creating glazed surfaces that don’t call attention to themselves, therefore enhancing rather than detracting from the other elements of the building.”

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