Archive for January, 2011

Energy Leaks and Solutions

Monday, January 31st, 2011

January and February are months of belt tightening for many people and with suggestions that we are about to experience a double dip rescission the last thing people want to see is extortionate heating bills. However, there are measures that can be taken to help reduce home heating bills that the MOT Your Home campaign from Pilkington glass has been championing for some time now. These improvements are simple and include the following improvements: loft insulation, cavity insulation, an energy efficient boiler, and installing energy efficient windows.

This week Salford University opened a new laboratory that looks to reveal how the average British home can leak energy which increases the cost of household bills. The laboratory contains a fully functioning home based on a 1920s terrace house, one of the most common in the UK, and is being used to measure how energy is being wasted by the average family. The BBC recently visited Salford to find out how the lab carries out these tests as this video demonstrates.

Pilkington energiKare™energy efficient glazing can play an important role in preventing the common home energy leaks that were highlighted by the scientists at Salford University. The beauty of the Pilkington energiKare™ range lies in the fact that it is suitable for a broad range of installations from older traditional styled properties to modern day buildings.

Pilkington K Glass™ is one of the UK’s leading solutions for thermal insulation in homes. Pilkington K Glass™ is a low emissivity coated glass which is easily stocked, processed and installed. It has been established for more than 15 years making it the trusted solution for meeting current and future regulations, when used as the inner pane of glass in a Pilkington energiKare™insulating glass unit. Installation of Pilkington energiKare™ is the ideal solution for any household that is looking to reduce energy bills and retain that much needed heat throughout the cold winter months.

Chinese Glass Buildings

Monday, January 24th, 2011

The growth of the Chinese economy in recent years has led many experts to predict that it will surpass the USA and become the world’s number one super power within the next 25 years. This economic prosperity has created a massive urban population that requires modern infrastructure to accommodate busy working lives. Glass has played an important part in this rapid expansion as it’s been called upon to wall and clad hundreds of buildings of all shapes and sizes. Here we are going to take a look at some of the most impressive examples.

Completed in 2001 the Fang Yuan building in the north eastern city of Shenyang is an interesting example of Chinese glass architecture that attempts to marry the country’s traditional and modern design principles. Standing 25 stories tall and shaped like a coin this office building has employed glass to add transparency to the front and rear of the structure. There is also a small glass square visible at the centre of the building, a feature that was added to reference old Chinese coins that had a square cut out in the middle. This building is not for everyone and features heavily in the ‘world’s ugliest buildings’ lists, but whatever the opinion it can’t be denied that this building will be a talking point amongst tourists and locals for years to come.

The Fang Yuan Building

Over in Beijing stands another building that is often discussed for its unorthodox shape, this building is the CCTV Headquarters that is commonly known as the ‘Z’ building. To create this alternative appearance the construction process entailed the creation of two separate 44 story towers that were eventually joined together by what can only be described as a large horizontal glass tunnel. Again, the use of glass was pivotal to the construction of a Chinese modern classic that expresses the confidence and ambition of a world super power.

CCTV Headquarters in Beijing

The future of Chinese architecture will continue to employ glass as a key material due to its versatility, especially when it comes to creating interesting and non traditional shaped buildings. Shanghai, the country’s most populous city, is set to welcome its tallest glass building to its unique skyline. The Shanghai Tower is currently being built and is due to be completed in 2014. It will stand at 632 meters tall and will feature a core inner tower that will be enclosed by large panels of glass forged to create a giant spiralling effect.

Shanghai Tower

There is also a British connection with the Shanghai Tower as a skyscraper of the same name is being proposed for a future development on the City of Liverpool’s water front. Property and infrastructure developers the Peel Group intend to build the Shanghai Tower in homage to Liverpool’s Chinese ‘sister’ city and established Chinese community that is the oldest in Britain. This glass tower is planned to be 60 stories high, much smaller than its Chinese counterpart, but still tall enough to make it the tallest building in the North West of England. Plans for this dominant glass building are at an early stage; however it’s highly likely that this development will become a reality further cementing the relationship between the UK and China that dates back hundreds of years.

Theatre Land

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

A new year brings a fresh perspective, and as we look forward to the changing seasons and brighter weather there is still the small matter of January and February to deal with. Many retreat to the comfort of the sofa at this time of year; however, there is still a lot to do in this ‘down’ period, especially in the form of arts and culture, a world that takes centre stage in this week’s post.

Theatres are symbols of civic pride, and like the nature of performance, are keen to be the centre of attention. Rapid construction of new theatres in Britain occurred at the beginning of the 21st Century, a time referred to by Tony Blair as the ‘Golden age’ for arts. Glass played a vital role as the core building component during this time as it looked to replace bricks and mortar as the architect’s material of choice.

The Curve Theatre Leicester

Our journey begins in Leicester where the ‘Curve’ theatre, built and designed by renowned Uruguayan-American architect Rafael Viñoly, stands proudly as a cultural beacon amongst the renovated warehouses of the city’s proud past. The building appears to the naked eye as a large bell shape constructed entirely from louvered glass and steel, and this approach to construction allows passersby to view the activity that is going on inside. This £61 million development is a fine example of a modern British theatre, which highlights the different ways that glass can be used to create a large, modern glass building .

The Lowry Theatre Salford

Moving North, The Lowry Theatre in Salford is another great example of contemporary architecture that uses glass to open the building up to the outside world. Constructed in a large circular shape, the building is walled with large glass panels, offering panoramic views of the Manchester ship canal and beyond to those inside, while providing people walking past with a glimpse of what the theatre has to offer. This building stands proudly alongside Imperial War Museum North and can be viewed as a symbol of this once abandoned industrial wasteland’s renaissance.

Up in Glasgow another modern building that uses glass to add transparency is slowly becoming a landmark in its own right. The marshmallow shaped IMAX cinema that stands in the heart of the city’s docklands alongside the Glasgow Science Centre, appears as an out of shape Zeppelin framed by a huge glass wall made up of hundreds of glass panels. We could be forgiven for thinking it was created to house people on the moon, a fact that suggests the future of glass as a core building material is safe for generations to come!