Glass Interface Design: Structural Glazing with Opening Elements

Glass floors meeting a minimal windows flush threshold, on inside and out. Portland Road.

As an experienced architectural glazier IQ Glass has developed a large range of architectural glazing systems, including exclusive solutions such as the Invisio™ Structural Glazing System and the minimal windows® sliding door. These different systems are often specified together to create larger glass installations.

When you see the photos of these completed architectural projects, they look great, presenting a clean, minimal glass installation in keeping with the architect’s designs. What you may not see is the hidden details and the hours of work that went into detailing how these different systems would connect and work together.

 

Structural Glass Balustrades with minimal windows®

Including a frameless balustrade into an opening minimal window® is a great way to create a Juliet balcony that is minimal and contemporary.

We developed this detail many years ago and continue to perfect and engineer this type of glazing installation on projects all over the UK.

Juliet Balcony design on Chester Street, London.
Juliet Balcony design on Chester Street, London.
Internal Glass Balustrade at Kewferry Drive Modern House
Internal Glass Balustrade at Kewferry Drive Modern House

To enable adequate water drainage from the minimal windows® drainage base we detail the glass balustrade internally. The structural glass balustrade is then secured using base channels to the inside building structure which can then be hidden by the internal building finishes.

As with all our structural glass balustrade installations, the glass is toughened and laminated to ensure it achieved the line load requirements for the project and can be frameless with no handrail needed.

 

A Structural Glass Floor with minimal windows®

Connecting a structural glass floorlight to the base of a minimal windows® sliding door is a popular way to achieve a minimal glass elevation whilst allowing light ingress into spaces below.

Glass floors meeting a minimal windows flush threshold, on inside and out. Portland Road.
Glass floors meeting a minimal windows flush threshold, on inside and out. Portland Road.

This is a tricky design detail as we have to ensure that adequate water drainage has been considered for the sliding doors. Plus, we want to maintain the flush floor finish across the glass floor, across the sliding door threshold and to the other floor finish.

Example base detail of glass floors meeting the minimal windows base.
Example base detail of glass floors meeting the base of the minimal window.

Portland Road is a good example of this detail in practice and was extra complicated as there was a glass floorlight on both sides of the minimal windows track (on inside and out). The images look clean and simple, with a flush floor finish across the glass floors, drainage channel and sliding base track. The design detailing was another matter and took many hours of our design team’s expertise to ensure we had a detail we were happy to provide and that worked with the architect’s proposed building structure.

By using our flush threshold drain (which has a high volume for water), a bespoke aluminium base tray, our minimal windows® drainage base and a bespoke combination of fixing angles we were able to detail the installation to create a continuous flow of glass from inside to out.

 

A Structural Glass Wall with minimal windows®

This solution works well for projects that are interested in creating a long span of architectural glazing but only require a small section of it openable.

A wall of structural glass with a single sliding minimal window to the right.
A wall of structural glass with a single sliding minimal window to the right.
Internal view of Cotswolds showing the minimal windows sliding track internally.
Internal view of Cotswolds showing the minimal windows sliding track internally.

Due to the slim 21mm framing of the minimal windows®, they can be used very successfully within a wall of structural glazing. The sliding pane or panes can be designed at any point within the elevation of structural glass. By bonding a minimal windows® interlock onto the adjacent structural glass pane you can maintain the 21mm sightline and ensure a weather-tight seal between the slider and fixed structural glass.

The sliding panes obviously sit on a different plane to the structural glass beside it and can be designed to slide on the inside or outside face of the fixed glazing.

Thanks to our thermally broken Invisio structural glazing system we can ensure a fully insulated glass façade with no thermal bridging.

 

A Structural Glass Wall with a Sieger® Casement Door

Another way to create an opening in a structural glass wall is to integrate an aluminium casement door within the façade. The sightline between the door and the fixed frameless glazing will be larger than with a sliding door and will encompass the vent and frame of the casement plus the Invisio fixings for the structural glazing.

An aluminium casement door within a structural glass wall. Edge Hill, Newcastle.
An aluminium casement door within a structural glass wall. Edge Hill, Newcastle.

The overall sightline will depend on the casement door that is specified and some project-specific information (such as the wind load for instance).

For the neatest finish, we can cover the connection between the two different systems with an aluminium pressing or back-painted glass.

 

The Invisio Floating Window

This unique glazing design from IQ allows you to integrate an opening Sieger® casement window into an Invisio structural glass façade.

Invisio Floating Window
The Invisio Floating Window at the IQ Glass Showroom in Amersham.

It was designed and engineered by the team at IQ in response to a call from our repeat clients.

For architect’s that want to specify an opening window within a larger elevation of structural glass, the Invisio Floating Window is the most minimal solution.

You can see more information about this innovative window solution here.

 

An Oriel Box Window with Sieger® Casement Window

For structural glass Oriel Windows that also want to include an opening element.

An opening aluminium window within an Oriel Window. Lowether Road.
An opening aluminium window within an Oriel Window. Lowther Road.

The most minimal way to create these types of structural glass window seats is to have no opening windows within them. That way we can ensure that all the connections and corners are slim glass to glass connections with no steel or integrated supporting structure needed.

If you do require an opening element in an Oriel Window the detail will be very similar to the connection of a casement door with structural glazing.

Depending on the size of the structural glass window, we may also need to integrate additional supports at the head of the boxed window.

You can find out more in the below technical article: What To Consider When Specifying an Oriel Window.

 

What Next?

If you are looking to specify structural glazing on your project, contact the team at IQ who will be able to advise on the best solutions possible. We have years of experience in structural glass design and our technical sales team will be able to provide past examples and technical details to help you specify IQ on your next project.

Visit the Contact Us page for all the ways you can get in touch with the team.

 

 

 

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Rebecca is Head of Marketing at the IQ Group and has worked in glazing specification for many years. She has a broad range of technical knowledge about all our glazing products and offers technical advice and guidance to architects for specification. Her easy to digest technical advice is often quoted in magazines and publications. You might also recognise her as one of the IQ Glass CPD presenters.