Architectural glazing covers an exclusive range of products often entirely different from conventional glazing. The ultra-premium aluminium patio doors, windows, front doors and general contemporary glass structures are not what you see in the average home improvement showroom. This type of glazing comes as high end, extensively engineered and designed for the highest performance. Furthermore, these ultra-premium products also have more sophisticated manufacturing and specialist installation.
What is Architectural Glazing for the home?
What features and characteristics define these top of the line products used in architectural glazing? For instance, systems such as Schuco or Reynaers have a reputation amongst glazing professionals as providing some of the best bifolding doors you can buy. As good as these brands are, the ones we discuss here are just as desirable and others even more high-tech.
Architectural glazing and high-end windows and doors from certain brands offer a different experience altogether. Many of these sophisticated windows and doors come only from companies specialising in this upper-tier market. They also specialise in other glass products such as glass walls, floors and the latest in glass technology. Furthermore, the designers and systems companies carefully select their installers. Technical know-how, service levels, specialist machinery and overall knowledge are all essential when working with these advanced windows and doors.
Many brands are little known other than in this specialist market. Others are already great sellers in Europe and internationally. Moreover, the companies behind architectural glazing provide the highest standards of quality, design and innovation.
Information about architectural glazing windows and doors.
Importantly, many of these high-end brands also come to market differently from many of the products featured on this website. The stand-out feature and ethos behind the products and the companies is to provide a solution. Many ‘standard’ products come with size, weight and other restrictions. Anything over the published technical limitations cannot be done.
However, the companies behind architectural glazing work differently. They take a design or client requirement and make it happen. They push the boundaries of what is usually possible. Often this means new aluminium profiles, intricate design drawings or working with specialist component manufacturers.
- The company making luxury products installs them too in the majority of cases.
- There is a closer working relationship with the client and the architect.
- Often complex drawings are created with a stricter sign-off process before manufacture.
- They come with supply restrictions as well as rarely offered to the trade for others to supply or install.
- They meet the highest performance standards with a very specialised installation using the latest equipment and tools.
- The price reflects the skill and expertise behind them.
Many of these products feature slim frames or a bonded structural glass design. Others come with hardware and components specifically designed for the product, not using after-market locks and handles. In many cases, these architectural glazing products are restricted only factors outside their control, such as maximum sizes of glass or the limits of production lines.
Types of products classified as architectural glazing.
There is all manner of products defined as architectural glazing. While sliding and folding doors are a key product, others offer design ingenuity. Examples include.
- Flat, curved or shaped glass walls as well as oversized windows.
- Oversized sliding, folding, pivoting and hinged doors.
- Sloped glazing, curtain walling and facades.
- Electrically operated windows, doors and moveable walls.
- Frameless and minimalist windows and doors.
- Luxury front doors using latest-generation materials and technology
- Structural glazing, walk-on glass products and ‘smart’ glass technology.
In addition to these products, hybrid systems and steel products such as those by Crittall® also classify as architectural glazing.
Systems and Suppliers of Architectural Glazing.
Our list of glazing specialists focuses on some of the best businesses with both standard and exclusive windows, doors and glass structures. Many of these businesses choose to exhibit at Grand Designs Exhibitions, Build-it Live, Homebuilding and Renovation Show as well as regional building events and exhibitions. Also included are some systems companies.
Homeowners about to embark on an ambitious project, often with a big budget don’t just rely on an architect. Many visit exhibitions not only to see and discover products for their projects but also to speak to specialists in this niche market. It is therefore common for systems and suppliers of architectural glazing to frequently exhibit at the best exhibitions and a great place to start the journey.
Greek systems company Alumil offers some stand-out products especially in the field of contemporary front doors, sliding systems and high specification glazing. Their Interno front door comes at substantial sizes and designs in a range of materials including carob fibre effects, ceramics and other materials.
With their products featuring on Grand Designs, Cantifix offer stand-out products from some of the best systems and brands. Typical systems include Skyframe and Schuco as well as motorised sliding systems. Cantifix specialises in glass roofs and walls, structural glass links and precision made aluminium glazing.
Centor Europe Ltd.
With some of the best bifolding and sliding doors in terms of design, how they’re made and engineering, Centor is another fine system used in high-end projects. The Centor bifolding door is one of the best you can buy in our view and worthy of consideration when starting to think about a new extension or house build.
We give a mention to Cortizo for their growth in the UK market and especially in the field of sliding patio doors. With more than 12 sliding doors, all manner of windows and other products, Cortizo is one company with state-of-the-art aluminium systems. Many brands of slimline sliding doors in the UK use either a standard or customised Cortizo system.
Frameless Glass Curtains
While the concept for frameless slide and fold doors is not new, Frameless Glass Curtains (FGC) offers one of the best slide and fold products with no visible mullion. The other benefit of an FGC frameless door is its excellent engineering, weather performance and reliability. One of the best exterior quality frameless systems on the market in our view. FGC also provides all manner of other products using the frameless concept.
HIRT Swiss Descending Windows.
The descending window systems from HIRT is used in the finest homes and buildings all over the world. Electrically operated these very large windows slide down to fully open up a wall. They retract down below or into the wall and even sink into the floor. Revealing a fully open space, HIRT Swiss Descending Windows achieve sizes of up to 20 metres and over 7 tonnes in weight. These technically superior windows also ensure all types of climates and weather conditions.
Based in Norfolk and working nationwide, ID Systems are a very professional supplier of high-end products widely used in architectural glazing. From the impressive Sunflex range of bifolding and sliding doors, through to moveable walls and all manner of bespoke glazing. ID Systems carry out some incredible transformations to some of the finest houses and renovations all over the UK.
The advanced aluminium and steel systems from IQ Glass are some of the finest and most modern on the market. From the outstanding Apertio front door, guillotine windows, to minimalist contemporary glazing, frameless glass walls and all manner of architectural solutions. IQ Glass also provides contemporary steel products from Mondrian. By far the best feature of IQ Glass is their Amersham showroom with an exceptional selection of the latest in windows, doors many other products.
Frameless systems, contemporary living spaces and minimal glazing is a speciality of Keller Systems. The Minimal Windows range is a particular speciality of Keller offering frameless sliding, folding and panoramic windows. and doors.
London-based Maxlight, while manufacturing a variety of products, specialises in sliding doors, pivot doors and other modern glazing systems. Their sliding systems offer all manner of slimline, pocket and open corner designs. Maxlight also provides excellent pivot doors and steel-look systems.
The standout feature of Panoramah is the impressive size capability of their minimal slimline systems. Their sliding systems go up to thirty square metres in size and nearly 1800kg in weight using motorised patented designs. So good are Panoramah! systems that their only limitation is the production line of the glass manufacturer. The system also provides fixed, corner opening, pocket, opening and other types of windows and doors.
We mention Reynaers as their products such as the impressive Hi-Finity Sliding Door are chosen by many specialists in architectural glazing. These companies work with trusted, flexible and dependable systems and Reynaers often meets this brief. The company also has some ultra-premium products such as its pivot door and recent product launches at Bau Exhibition.
Schuco Aluminium Systems
Just like Reynaers, Schuco is another trusted system used by the best glazing contractors. With slimline bifolding and sliding doors, the Panorama PD slimline door and all manner of windows, Schuco remains the most desirable product for high-end businesses.
Cero and Solarlux products are some of the best in the world, widely used by premium architectural glazing specialists. The overall Solarlux range provides aluminium windows and doors, slimline sliding doors and luxury bifolding doors. The CERO sliding door especially achieves weights of up to a tonne in weight and up to 15M2.
More information about architectural glazing.
The list of businesses on this page features businesses and systems companies working in a very niche sector working through architects, word-of-mouth and expert in the more challenging home improvement projects. Are you a homeowner about to embark on or recently completed a Grand Design style project? Have you used any of the above companies or any others not mentioned? We would love to hear from you and feature your work. If you are a glazing company specialising in architectural glazing and want to be featured on this page and on our website, we’d also love to hear from you. Use our contact form to get in touch.