On Glass for Contemporary Façade and Fenestration:
Glass is a contemporary material with the inherent quality of framing the views, creating inviting spaces and connecting the outside to the built form. It would not be accurate to classify glass as a good or bad material. It is the vision of the designer and the application that makes its use relevant to the design. Indian climate is a very wide topic itself, and we have a varying climatic condition that might require from a triple glazed windows to trap the winter heat, to twenty percent opening on a particular façade in very hot climatic conditions. Glass can well be a material of choice to achieve even a net positive building.
For us, the glass selection is done in spirit of the design and the values required. We prefer using a neutral shade and DGU is our selection of glass.
In our projects Punjab Kesari HQ, Bangalore train station and Lucknow hotel (to name a few) heat gain studies were done to arrive at the optimum opening ratio and also effect of fins or cantilevers on the actual heat gain. In some projects, full glass façades are given by us in combination with the study of cantilever depth to cut down the summer sun from entering.
On Light and Heat Management in Buildings with Glass Façades
The location of the building with respect to its immediate surroundings is critical for simulations for us, to arrive at the specific requirement of the project. The sun during summers is very vertical; so cantilevers, jaali and vertical fins that can be closed are very effective elements to cut down the direct exposure of the glass surface to the summer sun. These elements of design ensure well-lit buildings, and also an efficient way to reduce heat gain.
On Performance of Glass in Acoustic Insulation
In our German projects, DGU is anyway a given specification, but at times a triple glazed glass is also deployed for acoustics. It is not just the glass, but also the complete fenestration system has an impact on the acoustic insulation of a building.
On Awareness Level of Consumers
The Indian user is very sensitive to the materials used in design. Double skin is a very effective system, but it has its impact on cost. Having said this, for one of our project we have managed a double skin façade within eight hundred rupees per square feet by using innovative façade materials.
The technical know how is there in India for most critical design. The question is of the design itself and the demand from the market. Something like a double curved DGU might not be possible to fabricate in India right now, as there is no/very limited demand for this.
We have worked around a double curved DGU by cold bending 4.2 meter by 1.8 meter glass on site to end up with a double curved panel.
On Future Designs and Systems
Performance based systems are the future of design, these systems can provide immediate occupancy buildings. Digital façades as information sharing systems, embedded in glass is another field along with the sensor based opacity systems.