The Blavatnik School of Government (University of Oxford, England) decided to make one building from three to encourage interaction and collaboration among students.
The architectural design by Herzog & de Meuron reflects the open communication concept. It has its architectural culmination point in the “Window to the World” – a gigantic glass pane giving a remarkable view from one of the shared areas. sedak realized the pane with dimensions of 10.7m x 3.2m. The glass manufacturer produced the double insulating glass unit with an area of 34 square meters and an overall weight of 3.5 tons. The transportation of the oversize glass pane was also organized by sedak.
The Blavatnik School of Government is part of the University of Oxford and has been educating young people since 2012. Until 2015, the institute in the Jericho neighborhood was located across three separate sites. To encourage interaction and collaboration among the 120 students, the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron was awarded to create a building with an open design. The result is a five-floor complex with an oversize glazing that makes it an open building cubature. The core – a glass pane in 10.7m x 3.2m – is particularly impressive.
For oversize glass units, a special knowhow is as indispensable as exceptional capabilities in production and logistics. The ‘Window to the World’ fabricated by sedak consists one laminate made of two 10 millimeter low-iron glass panes. The glass units are laminated with a 1.52 mm thick PVB interlayer, processed into a double insulating glass and coated against glare and solar heat gains. To facilitate the installation in Oxford, a stainless steel frame provided by the client had been bonded to the insulating glass unit in sedak’s production hall.
With an area of around 34 square meters, the ‘Window to the World’ offers an unobstructed view from the shared area at the opposite side of Walton Street where Oxford University Press, the world’s largest university press, is located.
For safe transportation, all glass panes fabricated by sedak are packed in special wooden crates. The 3 tons heavy ‘Window to the World’ was packed in a wooden crate with an inclined frame structure and then shipped overland. Thus, the height of the truck was not exceeded and the glass was not damaged on its 1,200 kilometer journey from Gersthofen to Oxford.
Since the glass pane had to be installed under a building ledge, not only the logistics but also the installation technique presented a challenge. The usage of a common crane was impossible due to the overhanging façade. A special construction was fabricated to lift the glass pane from below into the building envelope. It was connected to the frame of the “Window to the World” during the installation. “With sedak, we have an outstanding glass manufacturer. Besides the exceptional production capabilities, we appreciate the quality and the adherence to schedules as well as their support during the planning process“, says Michael Schlinz, sales representative at Waagner-Biro.