By Leah Conway –
Local, family-owned business Specialist Glass Products Ltd (SGP) has worked with a final year graphic design student from The University of Huddersfield to reimagine five famous UK landmarks if they were made from glass.
SGP is a leading UK glass manufacturer based in Huddersfield, founded in 2003. It is a structural glass manufacturer which employs over 100 people from the local area. It has an impressive portfolio including installations in the Shard, Somerset House, the Gherkin, King’s Cross Station, Cambridge University, and Wembley Stadium.
Structural glass is becoming one of the most reliable building materials. It has a range of applications, is low cost, eco-friendly, and 100% recyclable, which is why interest is rapidly increasing. As of January 2022, there was a 23% increase in the search term ‘glass architecture’ as well as 22% increase in searches for ‘sustainability’.
Following these upward trends, Specialist Glass Products has worked with a final year graphic design student3 from The University of Huddersfield. Together they have envisaged five famous UK landmarks if they were made from glass.
Five Famous UK Landmarks
University of Huddersfield final year graphic design student, Samuel Ball, developed concept art of five famous UK landmarks made from glass and why it would be suitable for each building. The designs include landmarks from the Houses of Parliament, Conwy Castle to local building Leeds Corn Exchange.
The Houses of Parliament
Andrew Taylor, managing director at Specialist Glass Products, explains, “The use of toughened and bomb-proof glass in the design of The House of Parliament would withstand bomb blast performance requirements and provide greater security from severe weather and durability in elevated temperatures; an essential feature to protect against the UK’s widespread changes in climate.
“In addition, with many confidential conversations taking place, acoustic and white diffuser glass would also need to be heavily integrated into the architectural design to minimise sound and ensure privacy within meeting rooms, and more importantly, the high court.”
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The concept arts shows the reimaging of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, constructed from 1671 to 1678. Andrew reveals, “With July temperatures averaging a daily high of 21 degrees Celsius in the UK, room temperatures can get stuffy and uncomfortable, especially if in direct sunlight. By implementing energy-efficient coated glass into the design, you can help keep interiors cool in the hotter months without opening windows or installing air conditioning.
“Using energy-efficient glass would also mean more natural light and less artificial light, which is better for your health, eyesight and can even reduce stress.”
Leeds Corn Exchange
Leeds Corn Exchange was built between 1861 and 1863 by Cuthbert Brodrick, it is now host to a boutique shopping centre for independent retailers. Andrew advises, “Store frontage is integral to keeping retail businesses competitive and current, showcasing what’s inside and, more importantly, who is inside.
“Leeds Corn Exchange would benefit from the use of ‘Clearsight’ glass. This type of glass would ensure a clear view and no reflection thanks to its anti-reflective coating, minimising glare and significantly reducing any light reflection to less than 1%. Compared to the 8% on conventional glass, this is a massive difference; any passer-by would see any display items thanks to a crystal clear window.”
Cathedral of Dublin
Christ Church Cathedral was founded back in 1030 by Sitric, King of the Dublin Norsemen. Andrew explains, “Renowned for its beauty and architecture if the Cathedral of Dublin installed integrate energy-efficient glass walls, flooring and roofing this would improve indoor comfort, save money on energy bills and reduce mould, leaks and condensation.”
“As well as keeping interiors cool, energy-efficient glass units can allow heat and light from the sun to pass through the glass, as well as reflect and contain heat from radiators or fires. The use of toughened glass will also provide visitors with a higher sense of security.”
Conwy Castle is a 13th-century Welsh castle built between 1283 and 1289 by Edward I during his conquest of Wales. Andrew reveals, “We can curve glass up to 3200mm x 5000mm, which could easily be used to recreate the great towers of Conwy Castle. Not only could the walls be made of glass, but the internal spiral staircases as well. Unlike conventional wooden staircases, the sturdy, toughened glass used to create a glass staircase provides extended durability and a beautiful contemporary look.”
“If the castle were built from glass, there would be fantastic views of Snowdonia, the harbour and the narrow streets of Conwy from every corner!”
“Every home, office, and public building worldwide”
Andrew adds, “Whilst we have only imagined what famous UK landmarks could potentially look like, glass can be used in the construction of almost every home, office, and public building worldwide.
“Due to its functional and decorative qualities, the advantages of using glass do not end at the aesthetics. Allowing natural light to spread through, the material saves money and energy resources, keeping homes and workplaces warm in the winter yet cool in the summer. Therefore, saving energy on heating and air-conditioning.
“Glass is also 100% recyclable, so if it is ever removed or replaced, it can be broken down and transformed into a new product. If you value energy efficiency, sustainability, and security, glass is the material for you.”
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