Heritage London & South East

Linking old building to modern extensions

 Ion Glass - Church of St Thomas Canterbury

Building a modern extension on an old or heritage building creates many challenges.

Consideration must be given not just to the aesthetics of old meets new and whether to reflect and match the original style but also to the physical interface between modern building technology and the centuries old techniques employed by the original builders.

Structural glass specialists Ion Glass have worked on various projects to create a link between an old building and a new extension. They say, ‘A defined link between the two can create not just an aesthetic division but also provide a physical buffer between the harder more inflexible modern addition and the original heritage property.

Older buildings behave quite differently; they are likely to have more shallow foundations, be more flexible and breathable. If you build one directly against the other there will be a difference in movement. Glass provides the ideal interface in these situations.

Typically, the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury at Worting near Basingstoke recently benefitted from a new community hall where parishioners could meet, hold church events and Sunday school workshops.

Ion Glass - Church of St Thomas Canterbury

Built in 1848 in 14th century style the church is an integral part of village life but didn’t include a separate venue for events and meetings. A hall was designed to provide all the facilities they needed with access to the new venue from the church itself.

This proved to be a complex project, not least because the hall was built over part of the graveyard and had to be constructed on concrete piles positioned by infrared survey to avoid disturbing the graves!

Ion Glass were commissioned to build a linkway joining the church to the new building. Entirely constructed in glass, the roof is supported by glass beams spanning into the old church wall. Just 8’ long and 6’ wide it is a modern addition to the original architecture that is both stylish and completely functional.

Ion MD Peter Hazeldean commented: “Using glass for the linkway provides a buffer between the old church and the new hall that also avoided the need for deep foundations on this sensitive area of the church yard. It adds a stylish contemporary feature to the project and retains a wonderful feeling of light and space when people step out of the building.”

As part of the same project huge glass roof panels were installed in the new meeting room, maximising the natural light and offering a view of the church spire from inside the building. A porch constructed from glass and timber provides a stylish and contemporary entrance to the Community Hall.

Peter Hazeldean added: “We undertake a lot of projects inside heritage buildings and have developed techniques for working around old stonework and centuries old architecture. Using structural glass externally to link an old building with a new addition is a further extension of these skills.”

Ion Glass - Church of St Thomas Canterbury

For more information, please contact Ion Glass via www.ionglass.co.uk or call 0845 658 9988.

About the author

Premier Construction

Leave a Comment