The newly constructed architectural glazing showroom houses the Invisio skybox, a bespoke structural glass cantilevered floating glass meeting room.
The main aim of the new glazing showroom was to create spaces that illustrated the technical capabilities of structural glazing and create a unique focal point that can be seen through the 6.5m, automated sliding door pane and the double height vertical sash window. The floating glass meeting room is a great example to show clients and architects what is possible with our glazing solutions while demonstrating that we can technically engineer these types of glazing systems.
The planning and design
The floating glass meeting room was designed, engineered, and installed using in-house members of IQ, our installation director wanted to create an installation that no one had ever seen before by creating an all-glass box which seemed to float without any visible structural supports.
The next phase in the preliminary planning stage was to get in contact with some of our glass suppliers to establish what was achievable in terms of the feasibility of the glass structure.
The main questions we had to ask were based on glass specification, maximum sizes, how much weight the structural glass panes could hold and more.
Finally, once we had the answers we were hoping for we were able to start generating 3D designs which could be used as a basis for performance calculations and further developed designs.
Due to the minimalistic design and glass floors and walls, we wanted to create a solution where the steel structures were unobtrusive, the floating glass meeting room was to be the focal point without thick structures to interrupt the design.
We worked with a structural engineer in the preliminary stages to ensure that all the structural calculations would be feasible for the function of the meeting room. Working with an external 3rd party member was vital in determining how the frameless glass structure would behave with weight applied as well as establishing the final glass specification needed.
Once all of the vital calculations were carried out we were able to finalise a design for the supporting structure in a way which was desired to be virtually invisible in comparison to the scale of the floating glass box.
We then worked with a specialist steel fabricator to manufacture the steel structure as designed for the floating glass meeting room.
Once the work with the steel specialist was completed, we were able to move forward with the design and fabrication of the structural glass units.
Thanks to our expertise in structural glazing design, we were able to design this glass structure in house with our design managers and installation director.
Using 3D modelling programs, we designed various options which would be feasible for the structural needs of the glass and how these panes of structural glazing would sit within the steel supports.
The aim of the design was to create a frameless structure which would hold the necessary loads and was efficient to manufacture and install.
The final chosen design was then put through a 3rd party check and simulation by a specialist consultant who specialises in glass engineering to
ensure our calculations were correct and accurate.
The glass walls and frameless glass roof were designed to support the expected live and dead loads of the structure as specified.
The glass floor of the floating glass box was designed to support a uniform 2.5kPa live load in both pre and post break conditions as a minimum. The glass floor calculations showed us that we had two main options:
4 layers of 10mm TXD glass laminated together with a strengthening ionoplast interlayer
4 layers of 12mm TXD glass laminated together with a standard PVB interlayer.
Both options exceeded the required uniform live load with up to 4.7kPa for option 1 and 3.8kPa for option 2. We decided to opt for 4 layers of 10mm TXD with ionoplast interlayers to achieve a higher strength glass specification.
Our key considerations were to achieve glass units that were of the exact specification required as well as having a high glass clarity. We worked with the glass supplier to ensure the glass was made to a high quality and standard.
In addition, the glass floor had a bespoke fritted pattern on the external edges to hide the steel structure below. This had to be applied to the glass using a digital printing method which was difficult to do due to the size and thickness of the glass floor.
Throughout the development of the new £1.5million pound glazing showroom renovation, it was important to carefully plan each installation to ensure the safety of the staff and installers.
IQ carried out the installation using our highly experienced installation teams, the units were carefully maneuvered using specialist glass lifting equipment. A combination of a Hiab crane, chain pulleys, vacuum lifters and manpower were used to get the glass units into the building, up to the first floor and into position.
Extensive planning was carried out due to the access routes to get to the position of the floating meeting room, the Hiab crane had to reach through the doorway to lift the glass units.
The ceiling height internally was not high enough to enable the Hiab to lift the glass fully into place. Instead, we had to create a series of pulleys from the roof that allowed the glass to be lifted into place.
Once all the glass units were positioned, they were temporarily secured, and the structural silicone was applied. The end glass pane of the floating glass box is completely held in place with structural silicone, highlighting the integral strength of structural glass as a building material.
The floating glass meeting room is one of the most extraordinary components of our glazing showroom, the bespoke glazing solution is a great way to show architects and clients the possibilities of modern glazing solutions created by IQ.
Come and see the space for yourself by booking your visit to the IQ Glass Showroom in Amersham. We are happy to arrange general visits for architects or specifiers wanting to see the space. We can also organize CPD seminar sessions at Sky House for those wanting to make an event of the visit.
Click here to book your visit or contact the team on 01494 722 880.