Glass is one of the most spectacular materials that architects and builders can use, but it requires careful planning – especially in a warm climate.
When we look at the most stunning architectural creations of recent years, glass is a common factor. The incredible Elbphilharmonie gallery in Hamburg is famous for its innovative use of curved glass while ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark has a walkway made of multicoloured glass.
On Lanzarote, César Manrique has used glass brilliantly to create spaces where indoors and outdoors, art and nature, seem to meld into one another. A look at the specially created windows at the Mirador Del Río shows exactly how glass can liberate a building.
But glass can also cause problems. They don’t make greenhouses out of it for nothing – it allows radiated heat through while stopping heated air from escaping. In New York, glass skyscrapers have now been banned due to worries about the way they heat the city.
In Lanzarote in winter, of course, glass’s heating properties can be very welcome- allowing you to enjoy a warm home without paying for heating. When summer comes, however, things can get uncomfortable.
Air conditioning is usually used to cool glass buildings, but this in itself uses power and causes an increase in emissions, so modern architects are now looking at different solutions. These involve solar panels that can be incorporated with glass to aesthetic effect, or new types of tinted glass that adapt to sunlight.
Fortunately, Lanzarote offers an older and far simpler answer in the form of shutters and/or heavy curtains. These allow you to shut out sunlight from your home, and both are available in adjustable venetian blind styles, which permit you to reach exactly the right balance of light and heat.