Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury New Glass Roof Queen, Square Building News
Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury: New Glass Roof
Grade II* Listed Building Renewal in London, UK – design by SCHD Architects
8 + 7 Oct 2017
New Glass Roof at Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury
Location: 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London, England, UK
Design: SCHD Ltd, Architects
New Glass Roof transforms Circulation Space at the Art Workers’ Guild
The two phase works to transform the central hub of the Grade II* Listed premises of the Art Workers’ Guild in Queen Square, Bloomsbury have just been completed.
Phase 1 consisted of sensitively carving out space from the existing early 20th Century rear additions to add a ramp and disabled w.c. linking with the main meeting hall to the rear that seats 100 people. It also removed railings and a light-well, which were then paved over, literally doubling the area of the courtyard space that sits between the Queen Anne building to the front and the Arts and Crafts meeting hall at the back.
Phase 2 which was to install a structural cast iron and glass roof over this courtyard has now just been completed. This now makes the courtyard a dry all-weather space that maintains the character of its former external nature but can now be used as a break out space from the meeting hall, and itself be used for exhibition and craft demonstrations.
All the works were designed and overseen by the Honorary Architect to the Art Workers’ Guild: Simon Hurst RIBA. Trained at the Prince of Wales’ Institute of Architecture where he obtained RIBA Part 2 and also an MA with distinction, he was later awarded a Lethaby Scholarship from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. He has been director of his company, SCHD for 15 years and specialises in working with Listed Buildings and high end traditional residential work.
In obtaining Listed Building Consent for the works at the Art Workers’ Guild, the Conservation Officers report stated:
‘The proposed scheme is considered to be a thoughtful and well considered conservation-based scheme which seeks to sensitively adapt or enhance the existing building to improve access and the function of the institution. The scheme serves to preserve the historic fabric of the building as much as possible. As such it is considered that the scheme would preserve the historic interest of the building and also serve to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.’
Simon Hurst – Architect writes:
‘In keeping with the Guild’s general ethos, this has been very much a craft-orientated project. Components have been made in ways that have existed for hundreds of years with very little manifestation of 20th century, let alone 21st century technologies; the cast iron ribs are all hand made from wooden patterns, and the pierced decorative profile of the arched beams has been carved by a Brother of the Guild. The glass louvres are each made from 8 layers of fused soda glass, thus capturing minute bubbles within the body of the glass, and are then hand finished.
The design is complementary to both the 1713 original building and the 1914 extension. The roof fits in and responds to the current architecture; the curve of the roof follows the 1914 arched stone parapet with the AWG crest at one end of the courtyard. The detailing also ensures it appears to an extension of the existing architectural language and looks timeless. For example, the small profiled brackets that support the new roof and project from the walls of the existing buildings allude to the brackets that typically support first floor balconies on Georgian Regency terraced houses, and thus appear like an evolution of alterations from the Queen Anne building.’
Catherine O’Keeffe – Guild Secretary writes:
‘Now completed, the courtyard will serve a more useful purpose than simply a passage between the front and the back of the building. It is an ideal space in which to display small-scale sculpture and models, allowing the Guild to provide additional free exhibition and demonstration space to our members, an essential aspect of the support the Guild provides.
It will also expand the capacity of the space available for meetings, providing another breakout and refreshment room. This will increase the availability of our facilities for those wishing to hold educational and cultural meetings.’
Notes on the Art Workers’ Guild:
The Art Workers’ Guild is a registered charity that advances education in all the visual arts and crafts by means of lectures, meetings, demonstrations and discussions. The Guild’s membership is drawn from all branches of the visual and decorative arts, including sculptors, architects, textile artists, potters, graphic designers, glass engravers, printers and jewellery and furniture makers.
In addition to fostering a community amongst its members, the Guild reaches out to many likeminded organisations in order to build links with their members and to hold joint events and exhibitions. The Guild also hosts some 70 kindred arts-based organisations, many of which have been ‘spawned’ by the Guild. It is estimated that between 25 – 30,000 people use the building every year to attend educational lectures and study groups on the visual and decorative arts and crafts.
Simon Hurst RIBA, SCHD Ltd, 40 Manor Road, London, E17 5RZ firstname.lastname@example.org www.schd.co.uk
New Glass Roof at Art Workers’ Guild in Bloomsbury images / information from SCHD Ltd, Architects
Address: The Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AT, UK
Phone: +44 20 7713 0966
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