June 29, 2023

Clayworth Cottage | On Site Story

Written by Michelle Martin

Glass Installation at Clayworth Cottage

Clayworth Cottage is one of IQ’s most famous and acclaimed projects built on a sloping site. A feature episode of Grand Designs took this project to the next level and showcased the project from start to finish for thousands of viewers to see.

Key to the brief for Claywood Cottage was wheelchair accessibility. This meant that everything around the home needed to be fully accessible and easy for wheelchair users to navigate.  The oversized slim sliding doors had flush thresholds allowing seamless transitions between indoors and outdoors. 


Access to the site and site conditions during the glass installation.

Access to the rear of the property where the minimal windows were being installed presented an enormous challenge due to the pronounced architectural overhang.  Both the building's overhang and the site conditions to the rear elevation prevented the use of a mobile crane for installation. Instead, two glazing robots were used to help lift and move glass from a stillage to a trolley, then from the trolley to an opening.

At the front of the building, the glass had to be mounted on a trolley, which had to be carefully moved down a temporary track to the rear of the building over the top of churned-up earth.

It was quickly determined that the earth track was too steep and too high for access on the first day of lifting and filming. To minimise the slope and ensure that the glass did not strike the overhang at the end of its joinery, the team had to work with the builders to dig out the slope.

Installation Below the Overhang

The building's layout places its several windows and sliding doors beneath a substantial overhang that wraps around the exterior of the structure.

This overhang's function is to shield the glazing from the sun's rays to create a soft shade. However, it makes installation difficult.  The glass units moving under the canopy were only a few centimetres shorter than the height to work in because the glass was intended to be floor to ceiling.

The team had to use the Oscar600 glazing robot from GGR to carefully manoeuvre the glass off of the trolley once it had descended the slope. Before moving it, they had to angle the glazing to fit underneath the overhang.


Glass Weights and Lifting Equipment

Each of the glass doors leading to the living and kitchen areas weighed nearly 400 kg. Two different glazing robots were required to assist with the lifting with a sizeable team had to be present.

With one robot stationed inside, another glazing robot helped manoeuvre glazing from the inside. The team lifted the glass into the track using these tools, as well as manual lifting with suction pads.

The glazing had to be lifted above the 50mm head frame and then lowered onto the track below when installing minimal windows. The robots assisted in supporting the weight of the glass while this motion was carried out manually.

The Geko500 robot, which was being used indoors, had technical issues in the middle of a lifting operation. While the GGR team worked rapidly to fix the machinery to enable the glass to go in, the team had to hold the glass in place manually until the machine could operate.

Building Finishes Already in Place

Although this is not common, the builder chose to install the polished concrete flooring prior to the installation of the glass. Since that was irreversible, the team had to work with this built-in building finish when putting the frames together.

Once the installation was complete, the majority of the concrete floor was exactly in line with the threshold. In any circumstances where the floor did not match with the thresholds, a small amount of silicone was used to bring everything level.



Clayworth Cottage remains one of IQ’s most famous glazing projects. The final product came with a long journey of challenges and set backs that had to be overcome to finish the home. Thankfully, the fully completed home is the perfect inclusive space which continues to feature in architectural news.


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