Building with precision and excellence.

The glass on a multi-million dollar Auckland home featuring a floating glass staircase and curved, double-glazed windows, is setting new standards in precision, says the engineer responsible for its use.Glass house design

Babbage Consultants façades and glass engineering manager, Dr Andrew Piraccini, said the beachfront project on Auckland’s North Shore was an example of the standards he wanted to see in New Zealand.

“The key to this project is the detail – getting the minimum tolerances down to millimetres,” he said.“We’re setting the standard with this building. This is an example of the precision I want to see here. It’s not only the outcome, it’s the product and the engineering that’s different. The client has what they want and need, and it is safe."

“There’s no question this can be done – of course it can be done. And what I can do with a multi-million dollar building I can do for a $2m building.” Dr Piraccini said the client called in the Babbage façades and glass team because of its expertise.

The two-storey home features curved, double-glazed panoramic windows on both floors, an internal floating glass staircase where each step is fixed only at one end and with LED lighting to illuminate the treads, possibly a curved, freestanding glass balustrade, and glass fencing on the upper-floor deck and around the swimming pool. The external glass is self-cleaning. 

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“The internal glass staircase is an architectural piece of art,” he said. All of the glass will be manufactured in Germany as will the aluminium joinery required for the windows.

“In Europe large curved, double-glazed windows and doors are not something out of the ordinary but we don’t see it here so much,” he said. “But to have curved glass is one thing – the aluminium joinery requires specialised engineering. That is the key. Everything is built to precise tolerances and we have to document every step of the assembly. We’re working to European standards.”

Dr Piraccini, who gained his qualifications in Germany and Italy and is a specialist in the use of glass, said standards here around building façades in New Zealand needed to improve.

“We have buildings here less than 12 years old and they are finished – they are leaking and have to be pulled down,” he said. “They have rain and flooding in Europe but by and large they don’t have leaking buildings like we’re seeing here."

“Things have to change and this building is an example of what can be achieved.”

If you have a grand glass design in mind for your next project Dr. Andrew Piraccini and our glass and façade engineers can help make it a reality.

View Andrew's profile here: Dr. Andrew Piraccini

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