Glass Canada

Features Architectural design Contracting
Tight Cornering

June 4, 2021
By Adam Mitchell

Topics
Audi’s commitment to leading-edge design demanded fabrication of a custom corner unit.

AT A GLANCE – Audi St. Catharines

Fabricators: Agnora
Glazing contractor: Fairview Glass and Mirror
Glass: Corner insulated glass unit: 10mm tempered SGG Cool-Lite Xtreme 70/33 II Diamant 

Unique, innovative, custom facades are the hallmark of Audi dealerships across the world.  Their design ethos centres around the creation of a unique brand experience that is both iconic and unmistakable in any environment.  Just like Audi’s vehicles, nothing short of extraordinary performance and beautiful esthetics will suffice.  

Challenges present themselves in any construction.  When the new Audi dealership in St.Catharines, Ont., was built, the distinctive building design required a unique glazing solution for a prominent corner of the building.  A steel beam impeded the installation of traditional insulated glass units, resulting in the need for a specialized solution. Agnora’s Vision90 IGU was the perfect product to meet these uncommon circumstances for Fairview Glass and Mirror, the glazier responsible for the challenging installation. 

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The Vision90 is a proprietary insulated glass unit designed and fabricated by Agnora. Traditional IGU’s meet at a corner, leading to an overlap creating an unsightly join. The Vision90 eliminates this look by marrying four mitered pieces of glass, a spacer and a proprietary sealant to create a glass corner yielding perfect visibility.

“Fairview had a condition that was hard to glaze in a traditional sense. A post in the corner of the building was so close to the glass that it would not allow Fairview to properly seal two traditional IGU’s at the corner,” explains James Cole, senior project manager at Agnora. “Fairview asked if we could make our Vision90 corner unit for this installation, since the corner comes as a single-glazed product.”

Traditionally, Agnora fabricates all Vision90’s with a 90-degree angle as standard. However, a bespoke, 76-degree angle was needed to align with the building’s layout. 

“This type of IGU is serving a purpose that is different from to the market we originally designed it for,” Cole says. “We envisioned this beautiful glass for homes and galleries and here it is making it easier for the glazier to install around a site condition.”

Getting jiggy with it
“I’d seen some prototypes of the specialty IGU on Instagram, so I reached out and asked, ‘Do you think you could do a more acute version of that?’ Agnora isn’t one to step away from a challenge,” says David Roberts, operations manager at Fairview.

Agnora designed and fabricated two custom Vision90’s for the project.  The resulting glass was a fully sealed IGU, joined at a 76-degree miter using Agnora’s proprietary bonding, resulting in a seamless corner.  The inner and outer lites consisted of 10-mm tempered SGG Cool-Lite Xtreme 70/33 II Diamant with a 12-mm spacer running the perimeter.  

One of the challenges in manufacturing this uniquely angled glass was that Agnora did not have any jigs in-house that could be used for the project.

“All of our jigs were designed for 90 degrees, so we didn’t have anything in house for that specific dimension,” Cole says. “It being a sharper angle added to the complexity of the actual fabrication process.”

Louis Moreau, head of innovation and technology at Agnora, created an entirely new jig and alignment method to satisfy the highly specific angle.  

“We had to reassemble and create a new jig, and we succeeded,” he says. “Since the Vision90 is a fully sealed-corner IGU, alignment of the bonded surfaces is paramount.”  

To ensure a successful installation, Fairview carefully laser measured all the dimensions for the pieces and sent them to Agnora prior to fabrication.

“Everything fit like a glove: the corners, the angles. We didn’t lose a piece of glass on that job,” Roberts says. 

“The Vision90 IGU has the unique benefit of being just like any other window.  It is a complete unit.  There are not two IGU’s you need to align, use foam spacers, and seal.  You just get the unit and pop it in,” says Cole.  “It’s a simplified installation process.” 

Bigger is better
Roberts says that newly designed dealerships like the Audi in St.Catharines are requiring bigger and bigger pieces of glass. “On the Audi project, and the other newly designed dealerships, it’s glass everything and it’s getting bigger,” Roberts says. “The only place we could source the glass from locally was Agnora. They had no problem making the glass; they’re not going to let you down.” • 


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