Through the looking glass


When buildings are constructed today, they are built with half a mind on how they can retain their appearance despite the harshest weather conditions and modern-day concerns such as pollution from passing traffic. This is why a large number of buildings will feature glass as part of their facade; this is a material that will effectively weather-proof a building’s exterior, guard against all the elements and can be maintained with relative ease, aiding the overall longevity of the construction.

Aside from its practical values, of which there are many, glass is also very often chosen due to the high-end, minimal finish it so effortlessly creates. Its versatility means it enables buildings clad in glass to blend harmoniously with their environment, while being a statement piece in their own right. Just think of London’s skyline for some excellent examples; The Shard, the Gherkin to name just two of the many glass clad focal points within the city.

Old versus new

It is these qualities that are leading glass to increasingly be specified for cladding older buildings too, breathing new life into existing architecture and preserving all the beauty of the original building and its materials.

Creating a protective envelope around old buildings in order to regenerate, what is best for installation in this situation is a clip system for fixing individual glass panels, which effectively eradicates the need for glass cut-outs. The result here is a modern impression with a highly durable and long-lasting finish with safe ventilation of the building that guards against the elements, whatever the weather.


Frameless glass is increasingly being seen on exterior balconies too. While the result has unarguable aesthetic appeal, the installation of such glass features can be challenging, unless appropriate systems and solutions are specified. Systems that need to be fitted from the outside in will require scaffolding, which adds to the time and expense of a project, and are overall much trickier to install than systems that can be fitted from an internal position.

Traditional wet fit balcony systems need to be held securely in place, usually with cement, to ensure a tight fit, which can be messy too, particularly when fitting the balcony retrospectively on to a building.

Often too, the architectural hardware used for installation is heavy and cumbersome, particularly when working at awkward angles and from height and can even compromise the minimal aesthetic of the glass if poorly designed.

The ideal solution would simplify the fitting and maintenance process, reduce installation times and of course provide the necessary safety and security for both the installer and the end user. A dry-glazed railing system, for example, is a hassle-free alternative to working with cement and scaffolding.

This solution simplifies the fitting and maintenance process, enabling installation from the safe side of the balcony or balustrade, cuts installation times and provides safety and security for all.

On the balcony

Juliette balconies for adding glass to the facade of a building are certainly growing in popularity on UK buildings. Ideal for buildings with compact interiors, a glass Juliette balcony enables a French window or patio door to be chosen instead of a conventional window, filling the room with light, increasing ventilation and creating a greater sense of space.

The balcony itself provides a safety barrier by means of the balustrades or railings and does not generally require planning permission, another reason for their rising popularity.

Unlike a bolt-on balcony or other types which have a deck, a Juliette balcony does not need the foundations of a property to be re-evaluated to accommodate them, making them a suitable solution for refurbishment and renovation projects. Both systems tap into the big trend for frameless glass on the exterior of buildings.

With less architectural hardware providing an improved aesthetic when compared to standard vertical posts, and what hardware is on show being available in a number of stylish finishes, a minimalistic, high-end look is quite easily achievable.

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