Headquarters of Cambridge Water Company

The Project

The headquarters of Cambridge Water Company, who supply water to customers in South Cambridgeshire, was originally a water softening plant that was converted into offices in the 1980s. During its latest renovation, the original north façade of the building was preserved, with an entirely new edifice constructed around it. Designed by Cambridge architects Barbers Casanovas Ruffles, the impressive juxtaposition of old and new sees the original 1930’s façade encapsulated within the modern building. The preservation of the building’s original architectural features, and the innovation and high quality of the design resulted in the new office building receiving the David Urwin Award 2006 from Cambridge City Council "for an outstanding contribution to the townscape of Cambridge”.

The building’s original north façade is now surrounded by two-storey high walls of Pilkington Planar™ structural double glazing. The outer panes of the insulating glass units have a green body tint for solar control, while the inner panes are low-E Pilkington K Glass™, a specification which demonstrates the ability of Pilkington Planar™ to incorporate a plethora of glass types. 

Featuring the same glazing specification as the north elevation, the new south facing wall is angled as a means of solar control. David Masters, Technologist, Barber, Casanovas, Ruffles, explains: “With two rows of 1.5 m high windows between rows of curtain walling, and a south facing elevation, we wanted to achieve a high level of natural daylight for the occupants of the building. This was achieved by providing a 70° angled glazed wall to reduce the solar gain together with soft landscaping at ground floor to reduce reflective light. The result is a light, airy and pleasant internal working environment.”

Pilkington Planar™ structural glazing is also used in a rear canopy and roof light as well as an external balustrade and guarding walls for the front staircase. David concluded: “We knew we wanted to use glass for the project, it offers a modern look and is practical for the purpose of showcasing the original structure. When it came to specification, we chose Pilkington to supply the glass because they are one of the leaders in their field and were able to offer all the specifications the design required.”

Pilkington Planar™ Glazing Specification

External front façade and south facing elevation
348 m² Double Glazed Insulating Glass Units comprising of:
Outer pane: 10 mm Pilkington Optifloat™ Green THS (toughened and heat soaked)
Airspace: 16 mm
Inner pane: 6 mm Pilkington K Glass™ THS (toughened and heat soaked)

Rear canopy
93 m² Single Glazed 19.52 mm Laminated Glass comprising of:
Pane 1: 12 mm Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear THS (toughened and heat soaked)
Interlayer: 1.52 mm
Pane 2: 6 mm Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear HN (heat strengthened)

Roof light
28 m² Double Glazed Insulating Glass Units comprising of:
Outer pane: 10 mm Pilkington Optifloat™ Green THS (toughened and heat soaked) with an 80% white dot matrix screen print
Airspace: 16 mm
Inner pane: 9.5 mm Pilkington Optilam K Glass™ (laminated)

Balustrades and staircase guarding walls
136 m² 19 mm Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear THS (toughened and heat soaked).

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Project Details
Surface Area
605 m²
Building Type
  • Office Building
About the Architect/Installer
Barbers Casanovas Ruffles, Cambridge