What a retractable glass wall is can be best explained with guillotine window product. A retractable glass wall basically is a window or door system that is operable. A retractable glass wall system covers a larger span than a standard window which is in fact the main reason why it appears more like a wall rather than a window. However, in essence it is an architectural opening control mechanism just like a door or a window.
Retractability is the motion where a system or a surface can be drawn back within itself or has the capacity to fold up. In industrial design this feature contributes to an object’s or product’s practicality and most often makes them highly functional. Therefore, if a wall is designed in a way that is retractable, it would enhance the pragmatic aspects of that space.
How a retractable glass wall works? A wall can be built in various methods. It can be masonry and built with brick or stone units which can be load-bearing or not load-bearing but simply serve partition purposes. A wall can be concrete and loadbearing. Or it can be built with a lighter system to divide a space into smaller pieces. Sandwich panels with steel structure is a way to do that. Wooden or metal panels is another way of doing so. Lastly glass can be used to create indoor or outdoor walls combined with aluminum frame system. In all instances, the wall is used to separate or organize different functions and create a healthier human circulation in a space.
When you add retractability to the recipe of a wall which is traditionally something static and forms a rigid boundary, things begin to get tasty in architecture. The structural integrity of the building relays on the load-bearing walls, beams, and columns. However, the other partition units do not have to be permanent, they can be designed in a flexible manner. Retractable glass walls are aluminum and glass architectural systems that can redefine the perception of boundaries or limits in a space. The system for instance in Libart’s Panora Door models, retracts upwards completely disappearing as a partition element. The motorized actions is easy to operate and engineered for safety. It works like a wall that moves towards to ceiling and dissolves on spot.
Nothing remains as it is. Heraclitus says, “the only constant in life is change.” This completely applies to architecture. Whatever a space is intended for, its purposes can vary over time. And architecture should understand and foresee these changes. A large office room might be needed as two smaller rooms, or maybe a patio space is needed as a lovely indoor seating area in winter. A courtyard can maybe be accessible from all sides when needed and serve as a functional gathering area. The architect’s, business owners and residents should always consider the climate conditions, client expectations and comfort level for a space.
A large office room might be needed as two smaller rooms. A meeting room could function as a commune working space for all employees and be accessible from all sides or sometimes it could be enclosed providing a more private area for meetings, gatherings or presentations. A retractable glass wall system is the perfect answer for such a case as it works like magic when the enclosing wall completely disappear. Similarly, a patio space can be used as a lovely indoor seating area in winter. A courtyard can maybe be accessible from all sides when needed and serve as a functional gathering area. This could provide a cafe or a restaurant a very desired seating area that is used all throughout the year and in all of the four seasons.
The architect’s, business owners and residents should always consider the climate conditions, client expectations and comfort level for a space. A retractable glass wall gives the best opportunity for them to control the environment they would like to use whenever and however they desire.