Structural Glazing

How to Integrate Opening Doors into a Glass Link

a large glass link with sliding doors to a house in lyme regis

Frameless glass links are excellent architectural glazing structures that can connect two buildings or structures in a minimal and clear way. Using glass links can be a great way to differentiate between two different areas of a development or build whilst providing a connection. They are also sometimes preferred by planning consultants of sensitive builds as they provide a clear distinction between what is ‘new’ and what is ‘old.

Frameless glass links are constructed using frameless structural glass and associated fixing methods. This creates the most frameless design. However, structural glass is always fixed.

We very often get asked about the options and possibilities for integrating an opening door into a glass link design. Here, we will go through the options and the design considerations for adding a door into a glass link.


Glass Doors for Single Glazed Glass Links

Is the glass link double or single glazed?

This is the first question you will get asked if you want to include an opening door into a glass link.

If the glass link is going to be single glazed (ie, it is a covered walkway between spaces and not insulated) then the integrated glass door in the link can be frameless.

Edge House is an excellent example of including a frameless glass door into a glass link.

a single glazed glass link to a georgian home in hertfordshire

The clear glass link connects a garden room to the main Georgian style detached house in Hertfordshire. The glass link is single glazed, creating a covered walkway between the house and external building. Due to the glass being single glazed, doors could be integrated into the design with no frame.

Simple door fixings can be used to connect the door into the glass walls of the link in a very similar way that normal single glazed fixings are done.

The glass link to the Fairstead games room similarly uses frameless single glazing for the connection. Here, a solid roof was used with symmetrical double opening frameless doors allowing passage through the glass link to the garden from the driveway.

a timber and glass link between a house and games room in essex

The main house is Grade II listed and set in the countryside in Essex. The games room was built as an annex with the glass link creating a covered connection between the two structures.


Glass Doors for Insulated Glass Links

Where the glass link is designed to be heated and insulated, glass doors can be integrated into the glass structure in a similar way that doors are added to a glass box extension.

Insulated glass doors always have some sort of frame. This is required to hold the double or triple glazed unit as well as creating a weather seal to the door.

When it comes to including these glass doors into a glass link, you need to consider the connection of the glass door frame to the structural glass as well as creating a door opening within the insulated glass link.

This is done via the inclusion of steel supports into the structural glass link design.

Glass Links with Sliding Doors

For wider glass links, sliding glass doors can be a useful addition into the glass structure. The minimal design of the sliding doors can complement the frameless nature of structural glass for a cohesive design.

If you are looking at including a sliding door set into your glass link then you want to think about global alignment.

Care must be taken at the technical design stage of the glazing project so that the connections of the glass within the link roof and the vertical sightlines of the glass doors line up.

Shire End in Lyme Regis is an excellent example of a glass link with a sliding door.

a large glass link with a pitched glass roof in lyme regis

The pitched glass roof of the glass link is made up of three structural glass panels. These perfectly line up with the interlocks of the sliding doors that make up the vertical aspect of the glass link.

A slim steel post supports the glass roof and creates the door opening within the glass link for the sliding doors to sit in. Externally, this steel post is concealed behind back painted glass for a sheer all glass exterior.

Glass Links with Bifold Doors

When you look at the case study of Shenfield Mill, the large glass extension is the focal point of the project. However, if you take a step back from this impressive design and look to the west elevation of the old watermill you will see a small glass link design.

a glass link with three pane bifold door to former watermill

This glass link connects the former watermill to the triple garage, utility room and kitchen. In order for the link space to be opened to the house, this was fully insulated, using double glazed units.

Two symmetrical aluminium bifold doors were included on either elevation of the glass link, creating a through route from the front of the house to the rear.

The bifold doors were set into the glass link within a steel supporting structure. Bespoke aluminium pressings cover this steel structure colour matched to the door sets. Glass beams support the glass roof of the link which fell from the main house towards the annex using a structural gutter for connection.

Glass Links with Pivot Doors

The double height glass link in Surrey connects the existing detached home with a new annex that houses a kitchen. The double height glass link connects the space using insulated glass. Symmetrical glass pivot doors sit at the base of the glass link, creating an opening in the link structure and allowing passage from the front to the rear of the property.

a double height glass link with a pivot door

Due to the width of the glass link, a pivot door was used as it could span the entire width of the glass structure with no sidelights needed. Above each picot door, a minimal steel beam was included to create the door opening. The exterior pane of the vertical glass above the pivot door sails over this steel beam and is back painted to create a sheer glass design.

Glass Links with Casement Doors

Casement doors can also be integrated into glass link structures for access or passage.

This small glass link to a cottage hear Sheffield includes an aluminium casement door to provide access to the gardens. The simple glass link connects two areas of the sprawling countryside estate.

a glass link with a casement door to a cottage in sheffield

This more complicated glass link also showcases the inclusion of an aluminium casement door into the glass box.

a glass link to a basement in amersham

This structure creates a glass link between the cottage house in Amersham and the basement renovation. Shaped glass combines with a glass roof and door to create the 3D glass structure which covers the new staircase to the basement. The integration of the casement door into the glass link maintains the garden access.


Learn more about glass links

Contact the team at IQ to find out more about glass links and specification considerations when including a glass link on your project.