An Andrew Carnegie Library is brought back to life with help from Selectaglaze secondary glazing

Latest News Tue, Aug 4, 2020 7:52 AM

Working with award winning architects Hawkins Brown Associates LLP and Main contractor Osborne Construction, 63 secondary glazed units have been installed during the remodelling and refurbishment of Plumstead Library, to make it more thermally efficient and to create quieter spaces for the local community user groups.

After decades of neglect, this Grade II Listed heritage building, which officially opened in 1904, has reopened following an extensive £16.6 million local authority backed refurbishment. As one of the remaining Andrew Carnegie funded libraries in the UK full of architectural charm and historic interest, it was earmarked to champion the Plumstead Urban Framework, making it a critical element of the regeneration of the local high street and surrounding area.

Given the function of the internal spaces – quiet, reflective cosy reading areas, a reversible adaptation was required to upgrade the single glazed metal framed windows. The traffic from the busy high street posed a noise issue and the ill-fitting original windows allowed heat to escape and created draughts; both of which would hamper the sustainabilityof the building and add to the ongoing running costs. Hawkins Brown Associates contacted Selectaglaze o design a secondary glazing treatment which posed the most effective solution to improve the thermal efficiency and provide the much needed acoustic insulation.

On the north elevation, facing the high street, the library has two magnificent sweeping bow windows, which occupy the majority of the ground floor. On the first floor and the return elevation facing east, where the offices and museum once were, there are a number of metal single glazed windows in various configurations.They allow light to flood the spaces, but did little to help the comfort levels of the spaces. Well sealed and tightly installed secondary glazing significantly improves the performance of original windows. If used in conjunction with metal framed openings, U-values of 1.9 and reductions of 45dB (if fitted with 150mm cavity) can be achieved.

A total of 63 Selectaglaze units across the 2 facades were installed, which including Series 10-3 pane horizontal sliders, Series 80 – 3 pane horizontal sliders and more. Each sweeping bay overlooking the high street were built up with seven Series 20 vertical sliders, transom coupled to seven Series 45 side hung casements. This configuration complimented the sightlines of the primary windows and allowed full access for cleaning, maintenance and natural ventilation if required. Expertly measured and prepared timbers were needed for these openings. The rear face was curved to match the line of the bow, with a square face to facet fix the secondary glazing too.

After months of highly skilled refurbishment works, the Library re opened in early 2020. It is set to become a sustainable and cultural destination in the Plumstead area and a great legacy for one of the remaining Carnegie libraries in the UK.

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