The Smart Energy Cube sits conspicuously in Dublin’s Hannover Quay as a tangible representation of the country’s profligate use of fossil fuels. The volume of the cube represents the volume of oil consumed in Ireland in just 5 minutes and the black glass envelope, constructed of StoVentec Glass, provides the defining aesthetic with the impact safety required of a structure in a public space.
Architect Declan Scullion of De Siún Scullion Architects won the project in the “Imagine Energy Design Competition”, run by Dublin City Council in association with Dublin’s energy agency Codema and financed with European Regional Development funding.
He was intrigued by the competition: “I liked the fact that the competition was open to all disciplines and was not necessarily expecting an architectural response; that gave me immense freedom.
“The concept is to confront people with the idea of consumption in a stark, uncompromising way, without relying on the usual paraphernalia associated with sustainability such as wind turbines or solar panels. I wanted instead an intriguing, high-impact installation.
“The concept is that this structure should be relocatable. Ideally it will appear randomly overnight at a new location, inviting people to actively seek an explanation. In order to achieve this, the exhibit is based on a steel frame structure with no foundations. It is stabilised with boxes of sand to remain secure, but these can be emptied, the glazed panels demounted and the steel frame dismantled relatively easily.
“To realise the design we needed a glass system that was safe as well as beautiful. The StoVentec glass system has the highest level of impact resistance of any we looked at, while the colour is intense, uncompromising and realises exactly the effect I was after.”
The StoVentec Glass is a panellised system in which sheets of glass are coloured prior to toughening – effectively enamelling the colour to the surface. The toughened glass panels are then bonded onto a carrier board and fixed with robust steel fixings providing a highly secure façade.
StoVentec Glass has been tested to an extremely high level of blast resistance under the ISO 16933 standard. This allows the product to be used even in areas considered to be at high risk of terrorist attack and provides assurance that the glazing system is considered safe for any application in a public area.