Descending Windows

Sink an entire wall of glass into the floor with an impressive Descending Window


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Sinking Windows

The Swiss Descending Window is part of the next generation of architectural glazing. This impressive glass product allows you to create massive walls of glass that sink and disappear below the floor.

Almost silent motors lower large elevations of glass (or your preferred material) into the floor which is then housed in a specialist ‘parking room’ below the floor.

The resulting threshold is completely flat, making that transition from inside to outside fluid and seamless. Each installation can be designed with a bespoke threshold finish in a material of your choice including timber, stone and metal.

This product marries the best aesthetics of modern architectural glazing, creating fully open apertures when open but minimal clear glass faces when closed.

Disappearing Walls

If you are looking for the ultimate ‘wow’ factor from your glazing then the Descending Window is the best choice. The walls of disappearing glass are like something from a movie.

It is not just straight windows of glass that can be automated. Corners and curved glass facades can be automated to allow entire walls to sink below the ground.

There are two systems to choose from; the SF90 which offers sinking glass walls of up to 18m2 per unit or the even larger SFXL offering descending windows up to 40m2 each. Larger bespoke solutions are also available on request.

You could take this product even further by integrating normal windows and doors into the sinking framework, allowing the automated façade to multi-task. Integrating an opening door into the sinking glass wall will allow easy general access then sink the entire façade to open the whole aperture.



See the Swiss Descending Window in Action

The Swiss Descending Window is an impressive architectural glazing product that offers a unique finish to a project. The glass walls are fully automated with near silent motors offering no noise pollution.

Take a look at the video here for a fantastic visual of the descending windows.

Get in touch with the team at IQ Glass here.


Maximum Sizes

Now Available as an Ascending Window

This window system can now be designed as an ascending window that glides upwards on motors to be stored in a 'parking space' within the walls of the floor level above. The SF 90 was developed so that this system can effortlessly slide upwards, providing an alternative solution to disappearing walls of glass - perfect for allowing cars to drive out of buildings just like the Jaguar showroom.

The ascender front can measure 3200mm x 3000mm, with triple glazing available weighing up to 700kg.

You can see the Ascending window in action at the Jaguar Showroom.

Maximum Sizes

The Descending Windows come in two system sizes depending on the size of the elevation you want to be automated.

The SF90 system has a maximum width of 6m per pane and a maximum height of 6m, offering you a maximum size of 18m2 per unit. This system can carry a load of up to 1500 kg.

The SFXL has been tested up to 6m tall x 12m wide per unit giving us a maximum are of 40m2 with a maximum weight of 3500 kg using standard components. However, this system has much greater flexibility to offer you something bigger and more impressive and bespoke installations are available on request.

The largest descender front to date is 20m wide and weighs 7500 kg.

Glass Specification and Other Materials

The SF90 system has a maximum glass depth of 63mm, meaning that it is able to hold a single, double or triple glazed unit as required. The SF XL has a slightly larger glass depth of up to 70mm.

Most of our specialist glass finishes are possible with this system, allowing you to integrate everything from solar control glass to electrical glazing into the impressive sinking window.

The overall thermal insulation achieved from the Descending Glass Wall will change depending on the glass specification used. As an example a Uw value of as little as 0.75 W/m2K can be achieved with a glass unit at 0.5 W/m2K.

In addition to glass you could opt to fill the descending window frame with the material of your choice.

You could also choose to fill the descending front with an integrated window or door system.

Performance Testing

The automated sinking frame has an Uf value of 1.364 W/m2K in the SF90 system and 1.418 W/m2K in the SFXL version. The overall Uw value will depend on the size of the installation and the glass specification used.

Both the SF90 and SFXL have been fully tested for weather resistance and include specialist pneumatic seals in four levels that do not let any air through

SF90 and SFXL Weather Resistance:

Air permeability in accordance with EN1026/EN12207 Class 4

Resistance to wind loads in accordance with EN12211/EN12210 Class C4

Rain resistance in accordance with EN1027/EN12208 Class E1500

Motors and Automation

The sinking walls are automated by an electro-magnetic drive and a counter weighted system. The resulting airborne noise emission of the descender front is very low. The sound level is far below 70 dB offering no noise pollution.

A ‘parking space’ is required below the system to house the opened descender front, counterweight, motor, the drive shaft, the

compressor and the pneumatics.

Please refer to our typical design details for further information.

Operation and Control

The automated glass walls can be operated via a variety of different control mechanisms depending on your project requirements. A deadman's switch control will be included as standard.

The switch is set within visual distance from the descending wall and the operator visually monitors the descender front during the entire lifting/lowering process. When the switch is released the wall will stop its descent immediately.

Alternatively, a fully automated system can be created with the additional integration of safety sensors. If you have integrated doors or windows within the descending frame these will require electronic tagging to ensure that the automated window can only be operated when all integrated components are closed and locked.

Safety and Machinery Regulations

The Swiss Descending Window is an impressive piece of machinery. These sinking glass walls have been designed and engineered to create an outstanding mechanical element that is suitable for a wide range of project types. As part of their rigorous testing they have been tested to the following standards and directives:

– EN ISO 12100-1 Safety of machinery - Basic concepts, general principles for design – Part 1: Basic terminology, methodology

– EN ISO 12100-2 Safety of machinery - Basic concepts, general principles for design – Part 2: Technical guidelines

– EN ISO 14121-1 Safety of machinery - Risk assessment – Part 1: Principles

– EN 12453: 2000 Safety in use of power operated doors – Requirements

– EN 349 Safety of machinery – Minimum gaps to avoid crushing of parts of the human body

– EN ISO 13849-1 Safety of machinery – Safety-related parts of control systems – Part 1: General principles for design

– EN ISO 13857: 2008 Safety of machinery – Safety distances to prevent hazard zones being reached by upper and lower limbs

– 2004/108/EC EMC Directive

– 2006/42/EC Machinery Directive


Further Reading

Top 10 FAQ’s about the Swiss Descending Window

4 Ways to Create a Wall of Glass that Disappears

Picking the Right Patio Door for Your Project

Our HSDW Playlist on YouTube