Ensconced in a wavy looking grid of highly reflective castaluminum brises soleil, the office complex located in the middle of London sparkles in the sun. The curved façade elements offer protection from its rays by being lined up next to each other. They grow in density with increasing height and shimmer more intensively at the higher levels. The international architectural firm Foster + Partners built the “Walbrook” office complex in London’s financial district from 2005 until 2010. The sculptural building features some 40,000 square meters of office and commercial space. Retailers and restaurants occupy the 70-meter long front of the complex that faces Cannon Street. Those who enter the building are immediately greeted by a white illuminated wall made of glass tubes that is 70 meters in length. It separates the two parts of the foyer from each other and extends all the way up to the ceiling behind the reception area. Thanks to its wavy structure, the wall appears to be almost fluent.
The glass tubes from SCHOTT that Foster+Partners used are perfectly suited for design and architectural applications. For the first time ever, structured CONTURAX® glass tubing was used in a large-scale application for this office complex. Two 3.3-meter high panes consisting of glass tubes that are lined up next to each other were installed in layers to form the 6.6-meter high wall. Hardly an everyday situation, despite its fascination, and the glass experts faced several difficulties. After all, the structured surface of the borosilicate glass is limited in terms of its maximum wall thickness, thus posing a real challenge for an architectural application of this dimension.