RIVA was already able to draw attention to itself with a special glass structure that it realized in Saudi Arabia in 2009. It was commissioned to erect the so-called ‘Jewel’ at a height of 450 meters on the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, currently the third-tallest building in the world: A lightweight glass façade structure that was made to look like a massive gemstone with a greenish hue. The ‘Jewel’ rises up over six floors and is 35 meters wide at its most spacious point. Located high above Mecca, it is today home to a Research Institute for Islamic Studies.
The project constituted a genuine challenge to all the involved engineers, designers and members of RIVA's assembly team. The excellent, impressive quality of this breathtaking structure is the result of work by a highly motivated and very dedicated team that is not afraid to break new ground.
Glass façades with unique properties
The design of the glass façades that RIVA created for the Shamiyah Expansion Project is extraordinary on many different levels. But it is mainly outstanding because of the lightweight and elegant structure that has been achieved.
The dimensions of the individual insulating glass panes alone have not been surpassed to this day. The up to 25 meters high glass façades incorporate the largest hardened insulating glass panes that are available in this quality anywhere in the world. They are held in place by a supporting structure that has also been made from glass and which creates an unprecedented lightness and elegance throughout the entire structure. Almost each individual section of glass was printed with an elaborate ornamental decoration that emphasizes the building's style. Some of the glass sections were even plated with genuine gold.
The glass fins that provide the necessary support to the façade structure also seek their equal: They consist of five individually moulded sections of hardened panes of safety glass that have been laminated into a single glazed unit. Blocks machined from titanium were also laminated into the glazed units during this process.
Mount points were then screwed into these titanium blocks that had been inseparably joined to the glass and these were then used to attach the glass façades' panes to the glass fins.
Designed to the highest standards
All glass façade elements were designed to the highest standards. Even the corresponding frames are in themselves feats of technical mastery. Machined to the highest precision from solid stainless steel and aluminum blocks, they add to the project's quality and exclusivity. Each frame element – along with the cross beam that is up to 16 meters long and constitutes the basis for the façade elements – has been finished with a Teflon-based coating that makes the surface particularly durable and virtually impervious to dirt and stains. More still – some of the frames have been galvanized in gold plate to round off the spectacular glass-façade structure to perfection.
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