Confronted with the challenge of building a light-weight, clearly defined, and aesthetically pleasing entrance to CardiffUniversity’s Schoolof Biosciences, the architects of the project knew laminated glass with Vanceva® color interlayers was their answer.

In order to more clearly define the main entrance to the building complex, the architects wanted to create an entrance that visually contrasted with the surrounding buildings. The unusual hexagonal color-glazed façade became their unique solution, with the surrounding neutral buildings serving as visual foil to the dynamic design. Other key elements in the building’s form were also accentuated through the playful pattern and lively hues.

The building users are very pleased with the hexagonal color-glazing and the new facility in general. The Director of Estates Development forCardiffUniversity, Ian Lomer, commented, “This type of glazing façade is the first of its kind. The scheme is now complete and the glazed façade is stunning. This is a testament to the architectural flair ofRIOArchitects.”

The use of laminated glass was an essential part of this design’s success. The visually stunning material allowed the transmission of daylight into the interior while reflecting the sky and trees on its polished surface. The wide range of transparent and opaque colors allowed by the Vanceva® color system enabled the creation of a homogeneous façade that concealed the building’s structure. The use of glass also created an additional dimension in the space, as the building appears to change form as the light shifts from day to night.

Glass also brought several challenges to the project. Namely, the architects and clients were concerned that the high proportion of glass on the building would cause excessive heat build-up inside. However, PVB interlayers allowed overall insulation of the structure and control over solar gains.

The colored glazing used on the entrance facility created a visually stimulating façade that both clearly defines the building’s entrance and communicates an aspect of the molecular research that takes places inside. Externally, the façade enlivens the spaces around the building by capturing images of the surrounding environment and reflecting back a more beautiful, colorful version. Internally, the white walls and neutral carpets are awash with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of color.

Company Information

Name: Eldon Lewis

Company Name:RioArchitects

Address: 21aAllensbank   Road, Heath

City:CardiffWalesCF14 3PN

Country:United   Kingdom(GB)

Phone: 02920 250066



Project Information

Project Category: Exterior

Name of Project:CardiffUniversity–SchoolofBiosciencesEntrance Facility

Location:CardiffCivic Centre

Date Completed:12/09/2011


Glass Laminator/Supplier: Solaglas Specialist Facades (John Harvey + Steven Nacson)

Photographer Credit: Eldon Lewis