• Experts reimagine five British landmarks if they were made from glass
  • Research reveals why glass should be used in architecture in 2022 

With structural glass quickly becoming one of the most reliable building materials due to its many applications and low costs, five of the UK’s most iconic landmarks have been given a makeover and reimagined as glass buildings.

Following a 23% increase in interest for the search term ‘glass architecture’¹ and a further 22% jump in searches for ‘sustainability’², leading UK glass manufacturer, Specialist Glass Products, has worked with a final year graphic design student3 to envisage five famous UK landmarks if they were made from glass. 

From the House of Parliament to Leeds Corn Exchange, the reincarnations share insight into why the eco-friendly and 100% recyclable material would be suitable for each landmark. 

The Houses of Parliament

With the UK Terrorism threat level labelled as substantial, The Houses of Parliament, lying on the north bank of the River Thames, could be a prime target for a terrorist attack. 

Andrew Taylor, managing director at Specialist Glass Products, explains, “The use of toughened and bomb-proof glass in the design of The House of Parliament would withstand bomb blast performance requirements and provide greater security from severe weather and durability in elevated temperatures; an essential feature to protect against the UK’s widespread changes in climate.

“In addition, with many confidential conversations taking place, acoustic and white diffuser glass would also need to be heavily integrated into the architectural design to minimise sound and ensure privacy within meeting rooms, and more importantly, the high court.”

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Designed by Sir William Bruce 1671, also known as Holyrood Palace or Holyroodhouse, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official home of the British monarch in Scotland. Every year, Queen Elizabeth II spends one week in residence here at the beginning of each summer.

Andrew reveals, “With July temperatures averaging a daily high of 21 degrees Celsius in the UK, room temperatures can get stuffy and uncomfortable, especially if in direct sunlight. By implementing energy-efficient coated glass into the design, you can help keep interiors cool in the hotter months without opening windows or installing air conditioning. 

“Using energy-efficient glass would also mean more natural light and less artificial light, which is better for your health, eyesight and can even reduce stress.”

Leeds Corn Exchange

Built between 1861 and 1863 by Cuthbert Brodrick, Leeds Corn Exchange is now a boutique shopping centre for independent retailers. Retail business owners must attract foot traffic, especially those without digital platforms, as more retail companies sell everything online day by day.

Andrew advises, “Store frontage is integral to keeping retail businesses competitive and current, showcasing what’s inside and, more importantly, who is inside.

“Leeds Corn Exchange would benefit from the use of ‘Clearsight’ glass. This type of glass would ensure a clear view and no reflection thanks to its anti-reflective coating, minimising glare and significantly reducing any light reflection to less than 1%. Compared to the 8% on conventional glass, this is a massive difference; any passer-by would see any display items thanks to a crystal clear window.”

Cathedral of Dublin

Christ Church Cathedral was founded in 1030 by Sitric, King of the Dublin Norsemen! Like many other church buildings, as the building is so old, the cathedral can often be very cold due to heat loss through gaps in the surfaces of the roof, exterior walls, windows, and floor.

Andrew explains, “Renowned for its beauty and architecture if the Cathedral of Dublin installed integrate energy-efficient glass walls, flooring and roofing this would improve indoor comfort, save money on energy bills and reduce mould, leaks and condensation.”

As well as keeping interiors cool, energy-efficient glass units can allow heat and light from the sun to pass through the glass, as well as reflect and contain heat from radiators or fires. The use of toughened glass will also provide visitors with a higher sense of security.”

Conwy Castle

Built by Edward I, during his conquest of Wales, between 1283 and 1289, Conwy Castle is perfectly placed in a picturesque environment.

Andrew reveals, “We can curve glass up to 3200mm x 5000mm, which could easily be used to recreate the great towers of Conwy Castle. Not only could the walls be made of glass, but the internal spiral staircases as well. Unlike conventional wooden staircases, the sturdy, toughened glass used to create a glass staircase provides extended durability and a beautiful contemporary look.”

“If the castle were built from glass, there would be fantastic views of Snowdonia, the harbour and the narrow streets of Conwy from every corner!”

Andrew adds, “Whilst we have only imagined what famous UK landmarks could potentially look like, glass can be used in the construction of almost every home, office, and public building worldwide. 

“Due to its functional and decorative qualities, the advantages of using glass do not end at the aesthetics. Allowing natural light to spread through, the material saves money and energy resources, keeping homes and workplaces warm in the winter yet cool in the summer. Therefore, saving energy on heating and air-conditioning. 

“Glass is also 100% recyclable, so if it is ever removed or replaced, it can be broken down and transformed into a new product. If you value energy efficiency, sustainability, and security, glass is the material for you.”