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Glass curtain façades, glass architecture and the importance of restoration

We may take it for granted, but architecture is one of the most important and influential ways in which we express our culture. Buildings across the world tell stories of the period in which they were constructed, expressing values and culture in both a visceral and beautiful way.

Glass as a building material has played a vital role in that cultural and artistic expression ever since it was first used as a building material by the Romans in 100 AD. As the decades pass, architects in countries around the world have used the material in new ways, reinventing previous aesthetic and pushing new boundaries in their respective countries. We can see a great example of this in the late 1800s and following decades where architects and designers trended towards what is now known as the glass age; a trend where the dizzying angles and bright lights of newly-made buildings spoke of the political views of the moment.

London’s immaculate Shard

Let’s look to the more present-day for an example of stunning glass-wall architecture: The Shard in London. Completed only recently in 2012, this soaring design pierces the skyline of our capital in a captivating manner that can’t be ignored. Clocking in at over 300 metres tall, this building was brought into being from the design efforts of the famous architect Renzo Piano.

Practically speaking, the glass curtain architecture of the Shard belies a diverse interior that is home to hundreds of offices, shops, eateries and hotels. The towering structure even has a residential space which lives alongside more commercial areas and enterprises. It’s a proud new element of the London Bridge Quarter.

How does this speak to the past? Simple: The gentle incline and sweeping glass-wall curve of the Shard is architect Renzo Piano’s reference to the designs common to sail ships and churches often seen in and around the Thames in the past. Historical references aside, the Shard is modelled on a shard of glass (hence the name) and its 11,000 panels have a total area of 56,000 square metres.

The Basque, Bilbao

Juan Carloss Coll Barreu: Quite the name and quite the architect! The Basque Health Department HQ is bold, to say the least. Chamfering, a carpentry technique where edges are sliced away to create sloping surfaces, is the defining feature of the Basque. It’s a lot to take in, and the atypical design of the structure goes with its glass façade to make an impression that sticks in the mind – and divides opinions thereafter.

The principles of the bewildering design of the Basque are appropriate: The Health Department wanted a building which clearly and boldly reflected the many different opinions, specialisms and backgrounds in the teams and professionals that form the department. Another classic example of how important a building’s glass façade is in portraying the message and goal of the people and companies within it.

The Point, London

The Paddington Basin is home to a rather special building. The Point was designed by Terry Farrel Architects with practicality in mind. A stunning glass-wall façade coats a building that is extremely important for both local residents and businesses.

The Point was completed in 2003 after a smooth construction project commenced three years prior. Nowadays, its glass curtain façade and unique design command attention and stand out with aesthetic appeal in the area it’s situated within.

The importance of glass façade restoration

But with vast expanses of glass come vast maintenance responsibilities. The See Brilliance team are proud to have helped keep the aesthetic appeal of The Point alive and at its best, providing glass curtain façade restoration services from a specialist team who removed accumulated stains, pollution and limescale using a top-down cleaning process that left the structure good-as-new.

Our Technical Director Nigel Bennett explains:

“Sheer walls of vertical, curving glass meant our team had to complete a top-down, methodical cleaning job, removing stains and limescale from the glass structure using specialist products and techniques. We’re happy to say that they excelled in their task and the various faces of the building are once again gleaming as a result!’”

See Brilliance glass façade restoration and cleaning services

If you’d like to chat with the See Brilliance team directly, we’re right here and happy to talk. Ring us today on 01635 230888 or email us directly on [email protected].

See Brilliance has over 30 years of experience in specialist restorative cleaning of metal, glass and stone. We can provide glass wall restoration, façade and cladding restoration, DOFF Steam Cleaning, commercial graffiti removal, and much more, all across the UK.

Download the See Brilliance 2023 brochure