GLASS & GLAZING
The result is the
Renovating and developing heritage buildings brings a unique set of problems.
Here, Richard Richardson-Derry, national specification manager for GEZE UK
examines the need to compromise when combining the old and the new.
‘It is a criminal offence to carry
out works to a designated
historic building without
consent when it is needed’.
This stark warning from Historic
England is the starting point for the
renovation of any listed building
and should be observed by all those
involved in the creative and technical
process of adapting or improving an
‘Three Ps’ are required: planning,
particulars and patience – the latter
needs to be in plentiful supply!
No two historic refurbishments
are the same. There are regulatory
parameters: whether the building
is listed, and if so, the constraints
that apply to its particular grade, its
situation – is it within a conservation
area? Around these issues lie a myriad
30 BuildingProducts.co.uk • May 2019
of rules and regulations that guide and
prohibit in equal measure.
Buildings of age are rarely preserved
in aspic. They have lived a life that
has spanned generations. Through
the eras, the structure will have been
changed, layouts altered, and the
building itself, used for a variety of
purposes. One thing is certain, an
historic renovation will frequently
present surprises and send developers,
architects and specifiers back to the
drawing board and knocking on the
door of the local conservation officer
for changes to the original proposal.
That is why heritage projects can take
considerable time to complete.
Ultimately, the key requirement is
compromise – a balance of aesthetic
and purpose offset by legal obligation
and sensitivity. Adapting and equipping
a building, and making it fit for
purpose must be undertaken alongside
the desire to preserve its structural
integrity and authenticity.
Sometimes, its listing can work
with you to find the right solution for
new requirements. When GEZE UK
was asked to provide an automated
entrance for the visitor centre at
Blenheim Palace, the primary aim
was to incorporate automatic doors
that would bring compliancy and
efficiency into the fabric of a Grade I
listed edifice. The original entrance
had immense timber doors. The leaf
weights alone would have rendered
them impossible to automate but these
were an integral feature and part of
the building’s historic credentials and
needed to remain in place.
The solution was to work with
them. By day, they are opened out to
frame the new entrance; a frameless
glazed pair of bi-parting sliding doors
powered by GEZE Slimdrive SL NT
operators. They were installed with
minor modification to the building,
which in the event of them needing
to be removed, would only require
minimal repair to its stone walls.
The result was an effective and
stunning entrance which offered a
stunning vista of the estate beyond.
Sometimes, an historic building
library walk link
was designed to
connect two of
the city’s historic
in a juxtaposition
of tradition and