Date: 5 July 2019
In major cities around the world, historic buildings form a significant part of the landscape. Often providing glimpses into the proud industrial heritage they once helped to fuel, these buildings often struggle to find a purpose in today’s fast-paced urban societies.
Times have changed, how people live and work are vastly different, and buildings must accommodate this if they are to remain purposeful today. As Andy Lake of Pyroguard discusses, glazing can play an integral role in the transformation of these often-forgotten architectural gems, bringing visually-stunning designs to life, while ensuring practicality and safety.
London’s Coal Drops Yard, located just a stone’s throw away from King’s Cross – one of the city’s busiest travel hubs – is one such building. Once a powerhouse of the industrial era, the Yard’s Victorian buildings were used for warehousing for more than a century before playing host to some of the city’s vibrant night life venues. Since 2007 they have stood unused.
Now, little more than a decade later – and more than 150 years after their initial construction – Coal Drops Yard has been transformed into one of London’s premier shopping destinations.
Connecting old and new
Made up largely of two 19th century coal warehouses, the site needed to be drastically re-thought to evolve into a new retail complex comprising of more than 50 shops and restaurants.
With high levels of footfall anticipated, the safety of individuals would need to be a primary factor in its redesign. As well as this, creating light-filled spaces to attract shoppers from across London would be integral to the project’s longterm success.
As a result, specifying materials capable of balancing safety requirements alongside aesthetics and practicality was critical.
Supplying in excess of 150m2 of Pyroguard Protect toughened fire-rated glass to various classifications – including E60, EW120 and EI60 – to the project, Pyroguard was able to fulfil the architect’s safety requirements, while delicately balancing the need for aesthetic excellence to contribute to the repurposing of these historic buildings.
Working closely with Propak Architectural Glazing who was enlisted to design, manufacture and install a large range of steel glazing systems for the project, Pyroguard created a bespoke thickness of 31mm, instead of the traditional 25mm for the EI60 requirement, to perfectly complement the systems.
With glazing having a critical role in the architect’s vision of Coal Drops Yard, it would be responsible for providing the transparent features which flood the site with natural light and bring the industrial buildings into the modern day. Besides its architectural significance, the project’s glazing also has inherent safety characteristics, designed to keep occupants safe in the event of a fire.
“To develop the design at Coal Drops Yard, collaboration was key. Engaging in a PCSA with BAM Construction, Propak worked closely with the architects, Heatherwick Studio, and delivery architects, BAM Design to develop the products required to meet the specification and employer’s requirements.
“Pyroguard were instrumental during this process as they have a vast product range which is supported by strong test evidence. Combined with their technical support, this ensured full compliance with the diverse fire rating requirements of the project, making the choice to specify their glazing a simple process. Besides compliance factors, Pyroguard’s broader approach, even down to delivery schedules, were a huge support on this logistically challenging project.”
Lloyd Bennett, Managing Director at Propak
Custom manufactured, Pyroguard Protect toughened fire-rated glass can be created in expanses large and small, equipping fabricators with the flexibility needed to fulfil expectations in ambitious architectural projects.
It also provides protection against flames, smoke and radiated heat, in addition to impact classification to EN12600, facilitating the transmission of natural light, as well as providing acoustic control and thermal and solar performance.
Certified for use in steel, aluminium and timber frames, it was selected as the perfect partner for the steel frames designed by Propak for Coal Drops Yard.