In Kenya, many buildings have wall facades made of glass, especially displays for shop fronts and also luxurious residential and hotel lounges.
Large glass facades help to bring in light and enable the outside to link to the inside while keeping the elements of weather e.g. rain and wind outside.
Large glass facades are also stylish and are a fashion statement.
These glass facades can either be supported by steel, wood or aluminum frames. These can also be unsupported by any frame.
With the quality of workmanship around Nairobi/Kenya in terms of joinery diminishing, it would be wise to ensure building works where such finesse in terms of joinery is avoided. Aluminum, wood and steel frames for glass can look unsightly if the workmanship is not well refined. This can make building look untidy hence lower rents to the developer.
A good example of this is the Tana house building at Karen shopping centre.
Tana House shops at Karen.
Here, they have used Aluminum and steel structure to support glass at the shop fronts. The quality of workmanship is wanting, hence not attractive to serious businesses and franchises. The next building, Nakumatt crossroads, a stone’s throw away, has used frameless glass for shop fronts hence attracting large franchises such as Bata and designer clothing.
Nakumatt Crossroads at karen.
They are thus able to fetch higher rents since their building looks smart and well organized to buyers and shop owners.
The thicker glasses, around 10mm thick, are able to retain heat on the inside at night .
A good solar film on the glass surface will help keep the suns UV rays out of the interiors, hence prevent too much heating during the day.
A good tint will also ensure privacy which can be one way such that people in the inside can see outside without the people outside seeing inside.
Assuming 6mm thick glass, the cost per m2 is kes 2700 per m2 inclusive of aluminum frame and kes 2,100 without the frame.
Assuming 8mm thick glass, the cost is kes 4200 per m2 with the frame and kes 3,700 without the frame.
It’s cheaper and better looking aesthetically when the glass wall has no frame or the frame is fitted at the top part so that the glass wall view is un interrupted by the framing.
The glass joint is then fixed using silicon.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.