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The Middle East: Innovating Glass for Extreme Climates

Jan D'Sa
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Construction glass is a building element that will never go out of fashion. Its remarkable flexibility makes it a reliable construction material that speeds the work and is ideal for embellishing facades.

Since the construction boom of the 1990s, the Middle East, and Dubai in particular, have seen building designs that could be looked upon as architectural wonders.

According to Allied Market Research figures, the global construction glass market is expected to reach US $121.877 million by 2022, a 7.1% increase over 2016. For example, there are at least 10,000 ongoing construction projects in the Middle East which require glass for cladding buildings.

In addition to using it as an aesthetic material, architects and developers are looking to glass technology to maximize natural daylight while providing thermal insulation. Firoz Kachwala is director of manufacturer Future Architectural Glass, present in the UAE for 40 years.

Summer temperatures in the Middle East have soared to 50°C, even 60°C. These are really tough conditions under which glass is used by the developers.

“That’s why it’s important for manufacturers to stay ahead of the game by creating and supplying glass that suits their needs.”

To Handle With Caution

A current solution is ecoTHERM high-performance insulated glass, which offers enhanced solar control and gives the customer a choice of tints. Kachwala says, “ecoTHERM, if not handled correctly during processing, can get damaged. Our furnace facility has been designed for such high-performance glass. With advancements taking place in glass, whether it’s using single, double, triple, or quadruple silver coatings, our production has geared up to process the sensitive glass.”

J One, "The Jewel of Dubai". Courtesy of RKM Durar
J One, "The Jewel of Dubai". Courtesy of RKM Durar

City Walk Jumeirah is a major development by Meraas developers. This luxury shopping and dining destination in Dubai, which includes luxury residences, required a facade exuding a sense of opulence.

Swiss International Scientific School. Its sports facility will include Sage Glass to meet stringent Swiss Minergie standards for sustainable buildings. Saint-Gobain worked with DSA Architects on the design which called for five-meter glass panels.

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