Balcony glazing bi-folding door
“The residents can decide for themselves how much of their living area they want to be a closed off living room, and how much a more open balcony.“
GERALD M. BÜRGEL, ARCHITECT
FLOORS WITH WIDE OPENINGS

Living in the city centre: that’s what the modern Neustadt Carré on Kommenderiestraße offers, in the heart of the north-west German city of Osnabrück. Built on a former car park, the new residential quarter contains 81 flats – all of which come with high-class fittings and a great location. However, the apartments also have one unusual feature: instead of a common balcony they are fitted with a glass front, which can be opened across the width of the whole floor. 

The new residential facility boasts excellent connections to the city’s infrastructure – all the most important spots are just a few minutes away by foot, bus or car. The university is also just around the corner, as is the main hospital, and the old town isn’t far away either. The location of the Neustadt Carré also makes it easy for residents to get to the city’s most important motorway connections. Yet despite their central location, the flats and apartments are actually in a quiet area.

Glas-Faltwand als Balkonverglasung
SETTING THE IDEA OF A BALCONY ON ITS HEAD

Each of the penthouse apartments comes with a roof terrace. Instead of balconies, all the flats apart from the one-bedroom units have a facade that can be opened across the entire width of the room, thanks to a bi-folding door. “With inner-city areas becoming more densely populated, we wanted to make sure that those living on this small plot could enjoy a high quality of life. Facade glazing with bi-folding doors was the final piece of the puzzle that enabled us to resolve this contradiction in terms,” says architect Gerald M. Bürgel, explaining how the versatile and open facade concept came about. The main aspect that distinguishes the built-in facade with the bi-folding door from a traditional balcony is the breathtaking sense of openness it offers, transforming the indoor living space into a recessed balcony. When closed, it provides a completely transparent facade interrupted only by the slender profiles of the bi-folding door.

Glas-Faltwand als Balkonverglasung
UNFOLDING INTO OPENNESS

“The discussions we had with Solarlux and the client provided the assurance we needed that the versatile facade would work so well despite the complexity of the specifications. For instance, some of the flats protrude quite far outside. The challenge for us was to ensure that the facade could be opened across its whole width in spite of this, with no interruptions or impairments to the stability of the structure. Another advantage of this system is that the Solarlux profiles are slimmer at the corners of the glazing, and contain a higher percentage of glass than the solutions offered by other manufacturers,” the architect says. Residents’ feedback on the folding glazing solution has been positive across the board. All those who have bought flats in the building so far have been impressed, particularly by the way they can give their living space a completely different feel in just a few seconds.

Glas-Faltwand als Balkonverglasung
THE RIGHT PRODUCT

The built-in Solarlux bi-folding door is thermally insulated, with three layers of sealing to ensure outstanding impermeability. In addition to this, the thermal breaks are made of fibreglass-reinforced polyamide. The glass elements open inwards and are fitted with a stainless steel sliding mechanism with sealed bearings for smooth opening and closing. The bi-folding door and the turn-and-tilt elements are operated from the inside using elegant, flat, stainless steel handles. The U and L-shaped balcony claddings in the ground plan are fitted with a bi-folding door as their front element and either one or two fixed elements at the side. Each of the fixed elements has a built-in turn-and-tilt window, which can be opened to air out the apartment when the glazing is closed.