Towering Gothic Arches at Harris Manchester College, fitted with secondary glazing

Latest News Tue, Dec 1, 2020 11:28 AM

Harris Manchester College is part of Oxford University. The historical Victorian buildings comprise of ornate wooden panelling, gothic revival architecture and sizeable stained-glass windows.

A problem with noise and dust ingress within to the Grade II Listed building has been due to construction works near the College and had affected two meeting rooms, a student common room, and the Tate Library.

This project, part of the College’s larger sustainability plans, was led by College Librarian, Sue Killoran, who evaluated solutions to help reduce the noise breakthrough, and to make the buildings more energy efficient through the draughty single glazed windows. Selectaglaze was the preferred option and was brought in to advise and execute treatments, as well as to assist in attaining Listed Building Consent by producing the application drawings.

It was found that 28 windows across four different rooms required secondary glazing to alleviate the problems with the building due to the primary windows, with each room requiring bespoke methods to meet their specific requirements.

In the two meeting rooms: Series 20 slimline vertical sliding units were installed, colour matched in a wood grain finish to sympathetically blend in with the wood panelling and reveals. They were glazed with 6.8mm acoustic glass and placed to optimise the cavity, ensuring high levels of acoustic reduction, as well as giving access for cleaning and maintenance. However, there was a unique design featured that had to be addressed so as not to scupper the installation and ensuing benefit. The window sills had inset heating grilles, so if the secondary glazing was installed as usual, the timber ground would have covered the grille, with heat getting lost in the cavity and the creation of a channel for sound to travel. By designing an enlarged rebated timber, the secondary could be supported and sealed around the full boundary but still leave clear passage for air from the heating grill.

The Tate Library has 50 study desks and, until the secondary glazing was installed, provided users with earplugs to block out noise and gave out blankets on cold days. The primary windows in this room are tall gothic arched windows, with three stained glass windows forming a main bay. They all had single glazed openings which did little to prevent draughts or keep the noise out. To complement the interior décor and leaded casings, the timber sub frames and secondary glazing profiles were colour coated in 9005 Jet Black Matt. The timber was scribed on site and installed before the manufacture survey, to ensure accurate measurements were collected.

The towering gothic arches reached almost 4.5m tall and had a mezzanine placed in the middle of them, which made the design and installation difficult. The portion of the window below the mezzanine was a Series 10 horizontal sliding unit. Stacked on top, in an area not requiring on-going access, were two series 42 fixed lights. Above these up to the spring point, was another Series 10, followed by three Series 42 curved fixed lights including reverse curving to follow the lines and details of the tracery at the head. Installed with 6.8 laminate glass and a substantial cavity; the space is quieter, warmer and provides UV protection to the books and manuscripts in the Library.

The student Common Room urgently needed a solution to stop noise from the neighbouring construction site, and to stop noise escaping from it and disturbing local residents. Series 20 slimline vertical sliders were installed in white to match the interior design.

"Selectaglaze helped us manage the whole process from beginning to end and we are delighted with the end result. Buildings with Grade II Listing need to be treated with care and respect and Selectaglaze proved to be the perfect company to work with in this respect. We also had Judges from the Oxford Preservation Trust visit the buildings and inspect the glazing on 25th September; and we await news to see if we have been awarded a certificate in their annual awards." Comments the College.

The College has taken giant footsteps towards making its buildings more sustainable and creating a more comfortable environment for all users of its spaces.

Covid-19 note: The secondary glazing has not obstructed ventilation requirements, being easily opened by occupants of the rooms.

Selectaglaze emails out monthly Spotlight e-bulletins, with the latest updates, new blog pieces and events – so sign up on spotlight blogs to not miss out.

In association with Selectaglaze Limited

Quick Links

Company Details

Alban Park
Hatfield Road
United Kingdom
T: 01727 837271
View Website
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Linkedin

Featured News

Specification news
Secondary glazing receives a standing ovation at...

South Hampstead High School is an independent day school in Hampstead, North-West...


Specification news
Newly renovated Cambridge Church blessed with warmth...

Downing Place United Reformed Church is situated in Cambridge. It was established in...



Secondary Glazing - Product and Performance Guide Brochure

Secondary Glazing -...
By Selectaglaze Limited

Download Now >>


Vertical sliding windows
Vertical sliding windows

Vertical sliding units are ideal for treating traditional sash windows. They all operate with spring...


Horizontal sliding windows
Horizontal sliding windows

Horizontal sliding windows are very versatile and allow easy access to the outer window. The sashes...


Noise Insulation
Noise Insulation

Selectaglaze, the UK’s leading designer of secondary glazing systems, has issued revised technical...



Benefits of Secondary Glazing
Benefits of Secondary Glazing

Benefits of secondary glazing

Watch Now >>