Fire Resistant Glass

Fire resistant “Pyran S” glass allowed the designers to implement a transparent, open design...
...while still meeting stringent fire safety requirements.
Rex Ellis, Journalist, Hong Kong

Shopping without Boundaries

In the world’s first interactive cybershopping mall, “Pyran S” fire resistant glass contributes to safety.

As Hong Kong positions itself as an Asian technology center, the city’s number one pastime has not been left untouched. Hong Kong consumers can now “shop ‘til they drop” in a new interactive cyber mall, billed as the first of its kind on Earth, with innovative design and state-of-the-art broadband technology. The 70,000 square feet (6,300 square meters) Dickson Cyber Express is Hong Kong’s most advanced and largest high-intelligence retail center. Alongside the galaxy of spacious, laser-lit locations such as Entertainment World, Kiddy World and Fashion World, one also finds Cyber Mall portals. Customers can browse through real stores or click through the virtual emporium at 85 Intranet workstations.

Real and virtual high tech

“It is a sophisticated mix of ‘clicks and bricks’ designed to complement each other”, explains Annabelle Yau, Chief Operations Officer of Dickson Cyber Concepts, a division of a Hong Kong based international retail chain. “This will definitely be a Hong Kong move into the technological age.”

Enhancing the sensation of being transported to another world is the mall’s location in Kowloon Station, a main stop on the modern Airport Express rail line whisking travelers out to Chek Lap Kok airport and on the Tung Chung new town commuter link. Many shopping malls in Hong Kong are conveniently located above stations with exits leading commuters past a tempting display of merchandise.

Travelers pass through the station turnstile into another galaxy. The effect is enhanced through extensive use of glass in the longest possible panels uncluttered by interfering mullions or heavy frames. In creating this spacious ambience, the design team at Gensler International (HK) Ltd. faced strict fire regulations imposed by the landlord, the Mass Transport Railway Corporation.

“Pyran S” optimal for application

Two glass panels in Fashion World are joined with a special silicon in the butt joint system.
Passengers can check in their bags at Kowloon Station, shop in the Cyber Express mall and then take the train to Chek Lap Kok international airport.
The only glass in the world that fit the specifications was “Pyran S”, according to design consultant William W.K. Cheung. It allowed the designers to come as close as possible to their optimal design while complying with strictly enforced regulations. Manufactured by SCHOTT Jenaer Glas, the glass is made to mirror-glass quality in the world’s only plant capable of producing borosilicate glass using the microfloat process.

“Pyran S” offers integrity against fire and fumes meeting a wide range of national standards from 30 minutes to beyond two hours fire resistance in the appropriate framing. In official testing in multipane steel frames at the Warrington Fire Research Centre in England, “Pyran S” resisted heat for 126 minutes.

Decisive for the creation of the spacious ambience was the ability to install long runs of glass to showcase the shopping worlds. In Fashion World clothes are displayed in six meter lengths composed of five panels. This was possible thanks to the “Pyran S” butt joint system which replaces obtrusive mullions with Sealmaster’s fireglaze compound, a silicon sealant.

Altogether 795 square meters of “Pyran S” glass has been installed in the cybermall. The installation took less than two weeks, which was a significant factor in the rapid construction. The entire shopping area was finished within four months.