Brunswick Centre Judged The Clear Winner Of the 'Activ in Archictecture' Competition
By Bronwen E. Roberts
The Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, London – a unique 1960s concrete structure featuring hundreds of stepped winter gardens – was treated to a free makeover courtesy of Pilkington Activ™, the world's first self-cleaning glass, as part of the Activ in Architecture competition. The Centre, which was refurbished by architects Levitt Bernstein Associates of London, had the added benefit from an upgrade to the innovative glazing product, Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass.
A competition run by Pilkington in association with RIBA Journal, Activ in Architecture was set up to find the most innovative projects for the world's most innovative glass, and was developed specifically for architects. Entrants were encouraged to use their architectural vision and show how the versatility and practicality of self-cleaning glass could benefit their latest project. Architects were invited to contribute suggestions regardless of size, the only provision being that a maximum of 7500m² of glazing could be utilised.
The Centre was therefore considered by the competition judges - including structural engineer and glass specialist Tim MacFarlane, Pilkington chief executive Stuart Chambers and RIBA Journal's Eleanor Young – as being the most worthy recipient of a Pilkington Activ™ upgrade at no extra cost. The revolutionary self-cleaning glass will simply work with natural rain and sun to break down organic dirt and keep the glazed areas clean, allowing the original design of the building to be clearly seen and appreciated.
The grade-II listed Brunswick Centre was judged the clear winner of the competition due to its extremely unusual design and the complexity of its glazing considerations. Located between Kings Cross and Russell Square, the Centre is one of London's most recognisable and iconic buildings from the 1960s. Originally conceived by architect Patrick Hodgkinson, the Centre provides low-rise high-density housing, shops, offices/studios, a cinema and car parking within an awesome concrete and glass mega structure comprising 314 individual winter gardens.
A small domestic London residential project was also chosen as a secondary winner of the competition. Kiran Curtis Architects was asked by planners to create a distinct, different design solution for an infill site in a street of Victorian terraced houses in North London. The company decided upon an insulated glass façade with a moulded leaf pattern. The project will also benefit from a free upgrade to Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass.
About the Author
Many conservatory companies recommend Pilkington when it comes to glass. Having been in the glass industry for 179 years, Pilkington is recognised as the world's technological leader in glass.
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