A tour around Kampala is a revelation of the perfection glass can do in interior decoration and architecture generally.In the heart of the city is Workers House grabbing eyes with the blue reflection of sky and the greenery in the distance. "It is like the stroke of an oil painter on canvas. See the birds making waves in the clouds - its like a drive In cinema!" said an enthused tourist as he focused his Nikon lens to take a picture of the yolk like reflection of the setting sun.
Elsewhere on Kampala road are Crane Chambers, Rwenzori House and IPS building on parliament avenue where engineers used glass artistically to partition 25000sq foot office complexes - depending on ones preference. The latest best case scenario of office partitions is the multi million The New Vision office extension on third street.
Casement and other dealers in Nakasero, provide unlimited layouts to cater for small and big complexes. In prime areas of Muyenga, Ntinda and Kololo glass is taking more space on the roofs of houses to suit the expatriate community, elite and the sophisticated tastes of Kampala folks.
"Creative engineers are today replacing walls and conventional inverted V shaped roofs with glass. Iron sheets, tiles and asbestos materials may take up 80-90 percent of the roof but glass spices up the lighting inside!" says a designer.
There are the translucent glass fibres now in the shops, which have the same profile as roofs. But they provide excellent lighting within the building. As the mall craze takes grips of Kampala, horizontal and slide glass windows have proven maintenance cost free and a desire for up class developers.
A survey of hardware stores is evidence of stocks ranging from 3030, 4030 and 6030 in either insulated or non-insulated material. Some of the windows come with latches and half screens. To contain over exposure blinds give occupants a sense of privacy.
"Switching to glass means more solar heat gained in the daytime thus a need for efficient ventilation for occupants to cope with it" cautions an architect. However, the style of the roof generally depends on the material chosen to frame the glass. The options comprise aluminium, steel, timber or PVC. Glass is heavy and expensive. Spend a little bit more and roof lights can be made to order.
Timber is appropriate for old Elizabethan structures. Slim steel serves well in modern property. One needs planning and regulation approval from the authorities.
With glass one can now have louvers measuring from 3'X3' and 4'X3' with overlapping blades to suit different weather. In store are pitched glass roofs fast replacing the conventional roofing material and style because of changing preferences and tastes in lifestyle. Glass has catered for the needs of the flower industry and Entebbe wild life centre for the snakes collection. Glass adds more light accessibility into the house, this is in addition to that sipping in through the windows. One needs tinted glass for some privacy.
The roof of a house is a key issue in terms of light, price and temperatures.
And a registered architect should approve, a source in the town engineer's office cautions that the material one uses for the roof.
Heavy glass in modern architecture takes more steel bars than wood reserve which is applicable for Elizabethan style structures.
Look carefully and even the wall louvers are now available in3'X3' and 4'X3' sizes. They are either fixed or adjustable. They are efficient in any building that needs ventilation.
In the glass revolution, glass is taking centre stage. In the Sheraton, Paraa Sarova and established high class catering places glass ashtrays/table tops, glass refrigerators and light shades of glass are now in vogue. The Biblical glass paintings gracing the Church walls are fast getting focus as interior decor specialists are picking on them.
Nadia Ngina in Jinja says, glass has an advantage. You can monitor what is taking place next door without going there physically.
Meanwhile, an executive says his employees are able to deliver more in the time they spend in office unlike it is in wood compartments.
"Glass gives one the conscience that some one is watching them which keeps a secretary on her key board and a cleaner with his tools" says Aggrey Kamukama.
Complimenting glass structures, Joseph Mugisa, the chief fire officer says glass is favourable in rescuing fire gutted houses.