Sudbury Library

“This was a unique and challenging project, which took fourglaziers sevenweeks to complete. Each piece of glass had to be individually cutand fitted, with every detail having to be approved by English Heritage.” – Neil Currell, Installations Manager, KentBlaxill

The Brief: The Sudbury Library is a Grade II* listed building which was built in 1841 and once housed the town’s Corn Exchange. The flat roof urgently needed upgrading as it was leaking and the lantern lights and clearstory windows were rotting and needed refurbishing.

The Aim: The project wanted to give the tired building a face-lift. However, all the work required very careful management as the site had to remain open to the community throughout the refurbishment work.

The Scope: At all stages, the scheme required sensitive project management and close liaison with the Suffolk County Council Historic Building Officer and Historic England. Contractor Brooks & Wood engaged specialist glazing company, Kent Blaxill to undertake the roof and window aspects of the project. The nine square metre metal roof light frames, each containing 108 pieces of individually shaped and sized glass, had to be dismantled into 12 separate segments and tagged accordingly, as each lantern light is a unique size. The frames were then sent away for shot-blasting and repainting with seven coats of English Heritage-approved paint. Once the roof lights had been reinstalled, a total of 1,080 individually cut replacement panes of 6mm toughened Grey Anti-Sun Solar Control glass were glazed into the frames. The Anti-Sun glass is tinted with a pigment to control heat and glare in the library below.

The Result: As well as providing a more welcoming and aesthetic environment to the public visiting the library, the refurbishment has made the best use of natural light providing a space which is both comfortable and airy. The attention to detail and the craftsmanship of the work carried out has ensured that the legacy of the building’s heritage has been retained.