The stunning glazing in situ on seven floors around four scenic lift shafts at the recently renovated 7 & 8 St James's Square project in Central London are more than just aesthetic detail.
It's also a practical solution that delivers protection from fire with up to
60 minutes integrity and insulation (EI60) at the prestigious venue in the capital that has been converted into luxury accommodation.
Arkoni Metalwork, suppliers of fire-rated, security and steel glazing systems, are behind the work for a project that was named as a finalist in the IFSEC 2014 Passive Fire Protection Product of the Year category.
Arkoni Director Martin Quarmby took up the story: "The St James's project was an innovative and technically challenging one that consisted of seven floors of 60/60 butt jointed, fire rated integrity and insulating lift shaft glazing to four banks of scenic lifts. The glazing also forms an anti-fall barrier.
"The fire rated glazing was designed using a combination of Schuco Jansen's new C4 steel glazing sections and Vetrotech Saint-Gobain's Contraflam Structure 60 butt jointed glass.
"Because the glazing had not been installed in the required configuration for the lift shafts, Arkoni worked closely with Warrington Fire's Andy Kearns, who independently assessed the whole project prior to work commencing," added Martin.
Within the floor levels Arkoni also incorporated steel goalpost structures which support the Otis lift shaft door systems. Due to the full height, single span glazing being up to 3500mm high on the first floor, Arkoni had to seek the services of Galliford Try's tower crane operator to lift the fourteen tons of glass on to the roof of the building.
Martin went on: "It had to be manually distributed to the relevant floor levels prior to installation and, due to the constraints on each floor level, the glass had to be physically lifted into place by a team of eight men.
"The whole project has been a great success and an interesting learning curve. During the installation, no panes of glass were broken which was an achievement alone as the special glass was on a 10 week lead time," added Martin.
Danny Murphy, Design Manager at contractors Galliford Try, commented: "This was a difficult challenge as we had to ensure compliance on very large fire-rated glazed screens which were co-ordinated with glazed lift shaft door sets.
"The screens also had minimum framing and low iron glass to enhance the marble clad lift shafts, which are the main visual feature.
"Arkoni worked closely with ourselves, Eric Parry Architects, Ramboll fire engineers, Pryce and & Myers structural engineers and the client to design, manufacture and install in line with the project programme.
"The result is an installation that, all parties agree, is of the highest quality," added Danny.
Both aesthetically stunning and highly practical, the new scenic lift shafts provide a glimpse of the very latest and safest glazing technology.
It's a viewpoint that residents and visitors to the building are sure to appreciate.