Bespoke Glass Entrances for Cathedrals and Abbeys

A guide to using structural glazing to create glass entrances for Cathedrals, Abbeys and designs in historic buildings.

arched frameless glass doors in an ecclesiastical building entrance design

Highly glazed entryways can be a great addition to historical buildings like cathedrals or abbeys, with the ability to preserve the original character of the building whilst adding modern elements. Glazing can be used to enhance the functionality of old buildings, creating zones within larger spaces or simply to prevent drafts.

Structural glazing is preferable in these types of buildings, due to the frameless characteristics that can make the glazing almost invisible. IQ’s in house developed structural glazing system, Invisio, has been designed with minimal architecture in mind and can be specified in bespoke and unusual shapes to accommodate heritage building styles. Structural glass for historic churches is something which IQ are well versed in, and our experience allows us to advise on, design and install specialist structural glass lobbies and entrances to these builds. 

ecclesiastical building with glass entrance and frameless glass doors

Invisio, the UK’s first fully thermally broken structural glazing system, was designed to offer flexible solutions to frameless glazing and push architectural boundaries. When you specify Invisio structural glass, all fixing and finishing details are completely concealed within the building finishes for the most minimal design. The glass units can be single, double or triple glazed to accommodate a range of glazing designs and suit the individual requirements of the glass entrances for cathedrals or abbey buildings.

Many cathedrals and abbeys will be protected by listed building status, preventing any significant changes from being made to the architecture. This is another reason why frameless glazing should be specified for listed building projects, as planning permission officials are more likely to approve designs that do not obstruct the original building and instead allow light and views to pass through.

bespoke laser cut frameless glass door in church


Often listed buildings have structural elements that cannot be altered in any way or are too fragile to have anything fixed directly to them. This can be historic stonework, where glazing systems must be fixed to the mortar joints between the original stone to prevent any damage to the stone.

IQ can carry out 3D laser surveys when designing glass entrances for cathedrals and abbeys to accurately calculate exactly where we are fixing to, eliminating the risk of any damage when we are on site. When working on historic buildings such as cathedrals or abbeys, it is common to discover weak points within the structure or design when building work commences. These must be sensitively designed around to maintain the integrity of the heritage site.


glass lobby design for ecclesiastical cathedralA range of glazing systems can be used to create glass lobbies or a highly glazed entrance design within a cathedral, with slim sightlines and frameless designs to have minimal impact on the wider building design. Our slim framed sliding door systems have sightlines as slim as 21mm, whilst frameless doors can be specified with bespoke hinges and ironmongery to suit historic building styles.

Glass boxes can be used to create a completely frameless glass entrance or highly glazed lobby designs, with integrated door systems in keeping with the fully glazed design. Many of our commercial door systems can be specified with a range of bespoke finishes, including anodizing aluminium frames.

The South West regional division of IQ are currently working on Exeter cathedral, installing frameless structural glazing in an arched shape to create a glazed entryway. Thisis a great exmaple of how bespoke glazing can be used to create glass entrances for cathedrals. 

A timber frame structure houses sections of single glazing, with a set of frameless glass doors and fixed glazing over the door. The double opening doors have been specified with bespoke pull handles, enhancing the traditional architectural design within the cathedral. The glazed entrance design prevents droughts from entering the main building, whilst maintaining the heritage style thanks to the transparent nature of shaped structural glass.

CAD details for our Invisio structural glazing system can now be downloaded.

For more information on specifying glass entrances for cathedrals and abbeys, get in touch with the team today. 

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Carly Coren

As a Senior Marketing Executive, Carly is an integral part of the marketing team at IQ. She studied marketing at university before putting her knowledge into practice within the glazing industry. You will find her working on social media campaigns or writing content for the websites. 

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