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Glanville innovation solves Lush shop front glazing challenge

In a UK first, Glanville have solved the problem of a continuous glass store front spanning a thermal expansion joint cutting right through the Bluewater shopping centre (seen here as the black line running through the centre of the image).

The initial designs from Quadrant Design produced a fantastic clear store front for Lush’s new larger store at Bluewater. Glanville provided structural advice throughout the design process, reviewing loading on display racks, safes and steel work support for the shop front which is glazed from floor to ceiling.

How to fix glass across a thermal expansion joint

Quadrant designed an open store front with products clearly displayed to passing shoppers. Such clarity comes with the challenge of the store sitting astride a thermal expansion joint that allows up to 50mm movement horizontally; something not normally compatible with a single sheet of glazing, which has no lateral expansion properties.

Glanville designed tracks bolted either side of the expansion joint, on the floor and the ceiling. This creates a movement channel that houses the steel work holding the glazing in place. As a result, the steel work is able to slide freely left and right inside the tracks as the building expands and contracts. This means the glass is unaffected by the expansion and retains its integrity.

Lead engineer at Glanville, Chris Davies, describes the situation. “Our normal solution to sitting glass over a thermal expansion joint is … don’t do it. But we were determined to find a way to bring the Quadrant design to life. The solution was a first for the shop fitters and the glazers but makes perfect sense in this context and could open up possibilities for similar stores in the future.”