Through a glass lightly

Glass blocks are making a comeback as building materials according to German company Saint Gobain which produces the Solaris line, certified to the stringent standards of ISO 9002.

Products from the company feature different textures - including light diffusing, satinised, light directing and cross-ribbed - and the glass blocks come in a variety of hues including rose, turquoise, light green, blue, grey and azure blue.Special solutions include a new 45 degree edge block.

In a recent project, a spiral ramp for for an Ikea car park in Hamburg, Germany, the architect Norbert Bielenberg chose glass blocks for the project because theya re a robust as well as aesthetically pleasing material which also lend themselves well to prefabricated structures. “The steel frame of the spiral and construction costs were motivating factors to opt for prefabrication,” he says. “The fact that light could be uniformly distributed with glass blocks was a key criterion to opt for the material. The semi-transparent quality of glass blocks makes driving up and down the ramp into an experience - from the outside the glass blocks offer a play of light. At night, light flows from within to the outside, while in the daytime, light flows in from the outside.”

Solaris glass block type 248 Sahara was chosen for the project, selected because the translucent material reduces the glare from headlights and because the fine sand-blasted surface has a very fine finish, enhancing the overall value of the structure.

Due to the use of prefabricated structures the 760sq m façade was inserted into the steel frame in only four days.

600450 Through a glass lightly

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