Inside the buildings we see a rigorous continuation of the architects’ glass theme. In front of the four lift shafts of 201 Bishopsgate, lines of folded glass panels, fixed back to the steelwork of the shafts via ties and struts, form a tall, opaque “waterfall”, an area of 600sqm in total. The pane formats, up to 5.0m x 2.8m, are on the threshold of what is technically feasible with heat-strengthened glass. To the left and right, the glistening reflections in the satin-finish low-iron glass contrast with the transparent look of the “waterfall”. Suspended glass ceilings, glass balustrades with stainless steel handrails, the delicate atrium walls plus the glass roof to the atrium all form part of seele’s contribution to this project.
In the foyer of Broadgate Tower there are four escalators – two serving the first floor, two the second floor. Suspended above these on stainless steel bars are folded glass canopies. The glass above the start of the escalators is a bold green for those leading to the first floor, bold blue for the others, but in each case the bold colouring gradually fades to a delicate shimmer. Some 250 samples were produced for the fine gradation of colour from pane to pane. At 1.50m wide, this represents the maximum size of coloured foil that is technically feasible at present. The gentle “folds” in the ribbons of glass trace the escalators, and this architectural theme continues in the 200sqm folded glass wall in front of the galleries to the side. Besides these two glazing highlights, seele also provided suspended glass ceilings and glass balustrades for Broadgate Tower, similar to those in 201 Bishopsgate, plus a vertical and overhanging aluminium post-and-rail façade for the atrium. The result is two office buildings flooded with daylight that represent an imposing demonstration of the artistic and technical possibilities of glass architecture.
Images: © seele / Matthias Reithmeier