Sometimes it can be hard to think up ways to be original when it comes to home improvements and property upgrades. Without the help of a top contemporary architect, it can seem like everything has been done before.
Often the best solution to this dilemma is to look backwards to look forward. Building design has a long, rich and varied history, and over the centuries, dozens and dozens of features and aesthetic touches have come in and out of fashion, lost in the mists of time when subsequent trends take over.
Revisiting these, and finding ways to bring them up to date, can be a great way to add the touch of je ne sais quoi to your property.
Building canopies were really the forerunners of the front porch, providing a halfway space between indoors and out. The original purpose was to give overhead shelter from the weather – somewhere where you could fasten your coat or remove muddy boots out of the wind and rain, or a place to sit outside sheltered from the sun.
On domestic properties, the canopy has largely fallen out of fashion, while porches have become increasingly enclosed, permanent structures which act as annexes to the main building. But in commercial and industrial buildings, they have remained more popular, both for the practical purpose of providing a bit of shelter before you reach the main doors, and also as a stylish feature in their own right.
And it is this latter purpose that has started to attract renewed interest in canopies as exterior features for homes.
Raise a Glass
Glass canopies have become a popular feature of commercial architecture. Modern, striking and capable of being integrated into a wide variety of shapes and styles, glass also has the benefits of being highly durable.
On a domestic property, these qualities have several advantages. For one, a glass canopy is a great way to make a statement, to do something which is still a little out of the ordinary and original. Glass is already widely used in exterior additions such as conservatories, balconies and balustrades. And although it has a thoroughly contemporary look, the fact that it is transparent actually means glass blends in very well with properties of any age.
Compared to building a porch, a glass canopy is extremely cost effective, but will more or less do the same job – it keeps the rain off when visitors stand at your door. On the other hand, in the UK we rarely have to worry about the sun being so intense we want to create a shady spot. So again the fact that glass is transparent is an advantage, as it means your doorway will always make the most of whatever sunlight is available, without a shadow being cast over the space below.
Finally, glass is a durable, robust material which will last far better than others commonly used in canopies and awnings, such as wood and especially fabric. By choosing the right kind of treated and tempered glass, you can ensure your canopy remains in pristine condition for years on end.