Wrapped in glass – Fantasia

We recently worked with local architect Richard Stratford on an new project that he is working on in Hogsback. We were responsible for the manufacturing of curved glass tiles that were required to ‘wrap’ the double story building – as well as the roof. Using meranti timber frames, 4mm TSG glass, specialised glue and sand we were able to create double glazed tiles which were curved to fit the radius of the building.

We asked Richard to share some of the details about the project below:

Every architect has one or two “gem” projects that forge their way through impossible odds to emerge relatively unscathed by the normal barage of creative compromise. For me, this project is such a project – so far..

The double story “addition” is a timber structure, “wrapped in glass” and built on an old circular 30 foot wide brick water reservoir. The placement of the old tank is ideally suited ensuring a “tucked away” feel on the steeply sloping site, enjoying close proximity, yet retaining privacy, from the existing three bedroom stone home that the tank used to service. Re-use of an existing structure, use of local timbers and relatively non-processed or semi-processed natural materials make for a potentially low “carbon footprint” and high use of local labour. The finishes have an honesty to them rarely enjoyed with many of South Africa’s other current standard construction methods.

Insulation against the mountainous cold is achieved by creating a floating insulated timber floor above the concrete slab of the tank; an insulated “second-skin” of local “Poplar” (Liriodendron tulipifera) T&G slats against the interior brick walls; all double-glazed walling and window solutions and finally a “roof garden” on the gently curving glass roof as a natural form of thermal insulation. These “passive” energy efficiency precautions marry with the active use of wood-burning fire-places; solar panels; solar hot water; low-voltage lighting and a natural gas stove; to tip the project over into the elusive “Energy plus” energy usage zone (produces more energy then it consumes).

From a purely aesthetic perspective, the building visually “breaths” with the changing moods of its surroundings by being “translucent”. Light filters through one of four selected natural South African sands sprayed onto the enclosed double-skin of each curved glass cladding tile. Views are framed periodically by vertical “slit” type windows throughout 360 degrees, their placement in conjunction with the large opening windows, carefully considered for privacy from visitors approaching the premises or using the existing house alongside.

So for the “idealists” out there, when you get the opportunity to “go-for-it”, really “GO FOR IT” don’t hold back! It’s not necessarily an easy project to produce by any means, but remains, and will always remain as long as the building stays standing, deeply satisfying!


Richard Stratford
Original Richard Stratford Architects

We feel privileged to work alongside architects to assist them in turning their ideas and concepts into a reality. If you have used any of our products and would like to explore the opportunity of doing a feature article please get in touch.