OPEN TO THE HEAVENS WITH PILKINGTON ACTIV™

14 February 2011

Worshippers at St Therese Roman Catholic Church in Banbridge have a much brighter view of proceedings, thanks to the incorporation of Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass in the roof. The building is a monument to successful contemporary design and innovation with Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass literally its crowning glory. The church boasts a unique two tiered rounded dome roof and was designed by local Irish architects, Laverty Foster following a design that defies convention for church construction.


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This exceptional looking building uses Armagh Limestone in natural split stone and polished surfaces around the window cills and door surrounds to give a traditional appearance sympathetic to the surrounding Banbridge architecture. But the domed roof gives it an individuality that stands out as a testament to modern design. The roof incorporates a series of windows that fulfil the purpose of allowing as much natural light as possible to flood into the church and illuminate the opulent interior, which includes a water font, a chair, tabernacle bases and the main altar itself, all made from Créme Cascais limestone from Portugal.

Pilkington Activ™ glass allowed the success of the design to work perfectly, as the self cleaning properties of the glazing was vital in eliminating any cleaning and maintenance programme, and ensuring that the glass remained pristine. As the world’s first dual action, self-cleaning glass, Pilkington Activ™ features a microscopically thin coating of titanium dioxide which creates two reactions by which it continuously cleans the external surface of the glass: first, a benign chemical reaction is caused by ultra violet light, which breaks down  organic dirt particles on the surface of the glass; secondly, the coating causes water to sheet rather than form beads, thus washing the surface of the glass and reducing streaking.

“This domed roof is a clever and highly contemporary design feature and frankly would not work without the Pilkington Activ™ glass,” commented Victor Bowman, a director of window fabricator, Bowman Windows. “It would be virtually impossible to clean or at the very least, be very expensive and be constantly required, in order for the windows to perform their function of letting in the maximum amount of daylight. Pilkington Activ™ solves the cleaning issue as a practical and very cost effective measure.” 

Marrying tradition and innovation through the use of various materials in the build, the architects have managed to create an individual and aesthetically pleasing structure for the Roman Catholic fraternity of Banbridge, with the Pilkington Activ™ glass on the roof demonstrating how this versatile product can be used for virtually any application where costly and hazardous cleaning and maintenance would be the only other option.