The Walkie Talkie Tower aka Walkie Scorchie, London
As highlighted in one of our former blogs, glass has found its varied use in a lot of commercial and mixed-development projects, adorning the curtain wall and creating transparent, expansive spaces. As a sequel, we focus on the failures of glass as an ideal construction material. Glare is often the most persistent problem. As most glass curtain walls cannot be opened, ventilation is another issue that needs special attention. Glass is also poor in terms of heat preservation, leading to higher costs in the operation of air-conditioners.
Some apartment and office buildings with glass curtain walls have inferior fire-proofing. The recent fire at Lotus Business Centre in Mumbai, which resulted in as many as 20 injuries and 1 fatality, was aggravated due to its glass facades and high wind intensity. Some countries such as Japan and Germany have already placed a ban on the use of large areas of glass walls because this form of construction becomes a pathway for fire to spread rapidly. But nothing brings more notoriety on glass than its impact on other buildings and passers-by. Curved glass facades have a tendency to form gigantic parabolic convex lens converging the harmless sun rays into directed heat rays and some flawed design practices intensify this by creating the “death rays”.
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