Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass is now on prominent and permanent display at the brand new IKEA store in the city centre of Coventry. The £43 million building was opened in December 2007 and represents a landmark for the Scandinavian company, being the first store ever to be located in a major city centre shopping area. This brought a host of new challenges to the design team, and specialist product Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass was specified to provide both a functional and aesthetic solution for the curtain walling requirements.
Glazing contractor Anglian Architectural installed Pilkington Activ™ Suncool in the Schuco FW60+ curtain walling that was used for the impressive 1400m² of vertical glazing that forms such a distinctive feature of the building. The insulated glass units were manufactured by Pilkington Plyglass.
The construction of the IKEA store follows a distinctive architectural blueprint, expressed by the effective use of materials with simple, yet careful detailing. As the most prominent feature of the structure, the curtain walling also had to fit in with the architecture of the city, with the extensive glazing designed to reflect the surrounding environment and making the store appear vibrant and alive at all times. However, such large expanses of conventional glazing usually come at a price in terms of cleaning and maintenance...but with Pilkington Activ™ Suncool this problem is greatly reduced.
The urban location of the structure - coupled with facts that the screen is up to 32 metres above ground and runs alongside the main road – means that access to cleaning is extremely difficult. “This is where Pilkington Activ™ Suncool self-cleaning glass comes into its own,” comments Trevor Kirby, MD of Anglian Architectural. “The self-cleaning properties of the glass eliminate the need for constant and costly cleaning, keeping the visual impact of the building envelope pristine and clean, without the likelihood of dirt accumulating and dulling the appearance over time.”
Pilkington Activ™ Suncool also helps to reduce solar heat gain and offers low emissivity for thermal insulation. It is provided as an insulating glass unit (IGU) where the front pane of glass is coated with Pilkington Activ™ on the external surface and Pilkington Suncool™ on its inside surface.
“We and more importantly our clients are very impressed with Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass as it has exceeded all of our expectations,” continues Mr. Kirby. “We are actively recommending the product and it is becoming increasingly specified on larger contracts. In particular Pilkington Activ™ is proving extremely good value against having to provide for cleaning access for difficult areas such as IKEA Coventry.”
The secret of Pilkington Activ™ is its special coating, which works in two stages. Firstly, the coating reacts with ultra-violet (UV) rays from natural daylight to break down organic dirt. The second part of the process commences when water hits the glass. Rainwater sheets down the glass to wash loosened dirt (both organic and inorganic) away. Compared with conventional glass, the water dries very quickly, reducing unsightly streaks or marks.