07 November 2014 By Jo Phillips
Here is our guided tour of the ins and outs of glass as the key material for enhancing the light and space around your home.
Let’s begin outside the front entrance where we find the Portico, the Roman name for an open porch leading to the main access of a building. Glass is often added these days to afford visitors shelter from the elements as they await entry.
Once across the threshold we find ourselves in the atrium. Again of Roman origin, atria were mutli-storey affairs which emphasised the grandeur of the property. The atrium was specifically used in town houses to illuminate dark interiors. Where the climate was conducive, the atrium would be left unglazed to allow fresh air to permeate the building.
Rooms which lack windows can often be illuminated by a roof lantern. Usually featuring an upstand to raise them above the flat roof, roof lanterns can also be interesting and ornate architectural features, but their key attraction is providing a flood of light from above, as if the room is open to the sky.
To make the most of a beautiful view a Loggia is required. Most often found at ground level, a loggia is a gallery or corridor open to the air on one side where you can stroll along gazing at the breathtaking vista. However, should your view be of the Scottish Highlands, then a glazed loggia is clearly preferable!
Popular from the 17th to 19th Centuries, orangeries were originally built to house citrus trees enabling them to survive winter frosts. Most were designed in the classical style featuring columns, arches and ornate stone ornaments along the facade. From the 1800s advances in glass technology enabled large roof areas to be fully glazed. As status symbols for grand country estates, many orangeries became large enough to entertain parties of guests amongst the rare and exotic plants.
Finally, the structure most of us are familiar with, the conservatory. The key distinction is this building has both glazed roof and sides allowing maximum light into the room and often forms a seamless link to our gardens. These days, advanced double glazing technology minimises heat loss creating a comfortable warm environment with lots of natural light which can be enjoyed all year round.
Unlike a conservatory which is attached to the house, a greenhouse is nearly always found in the garden. Today these can be sophisticated structures which enable plant enthusiasts to maintain specific climates and humidity to accommodate the most exotic of species. They allow you to start your growing early, and indeed keep growing throughout the year, as well as a place to overwinter tender specimens.
In fact, the scope of what can be achieved is virtually unlimited. From maintaining the classical traditions to pushing the boundaries of contemporary design, Alitex have the skills and the flair to create masterpieces in glass.