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A Vision of the Future

01 Sep 2010
Following our post on the history of glass buildings, let's now going take a look at the future by profiling two imposing  glass towers that will dominate London’s skyline in the near future.  Both buildings are set to open in 2012 and will be the tallest in the capital. The Shard standing at an incredible 1017 feet will be the highest building in the EU when complete and this will be followed closely by The Pinnacle that will stand at 954 feet tall.
Architect Renzo Piano, renowned for his work on the Pompidou Centre in Paris is behind The Shard project and suggests the building will resemble a large iceberg or shard of glass emerging from the nearby river Thames.  Glazing will play a key role in a project that will be a world away from the 70s built concrete office block it’s replacing. Renzo intends for angled panes to reflect light and the changing patterns of the sky, so that the form of the building will change according to the weather and season which is extremely clever.  His vision is on a par with that of his professional predecessors, such as Sir Joseph Paxton - discussed in last week’s post - and Piano's intention to focus the construction on glass highlights its continued popularity as a core building material.  The building will be at the heart of the regeneration of the London Bridge area and will be the tallest mixed use construction in the UK as floor space will be shared amongst retailers, residents and the public sector. We cannot wait to see it complete in 2012.

Over in the city’s financial district The Pinnacle is also nearing completion, and like The Shard, it’s appearance is far from conventional with the use of glass playing a pivotal role in cultivating it’s unique shape. Referred to as the Helter Skelter the design of the building has an organic feel to project a natural look. People are already suggesting its curved upper levels resemble mushrooms, sea shells and even armadillos!  Glass features prominently in the make up of this and is being used primarily to retain heat and reduce the buildings energy loss - just like our Pilkington energiKare™ range. Interestingly every pane of glass being used is exactly the same size a to reduce construction costs and needless waste.

The use of glazing on these soon to be iconic buildings highlights the practical and aesthetic benefits of glass, and no matter what the scale of a building, it can be deployed as a true alternative to bricks and mortar.