In 1619-22 after its predecessor was destroyed by fire, Inigo Jones designed the Banqueting House we see today. Since its erection, Banqueting House has stood witness to many historical events; its main use was to host State events, masques, provide private drinking space for James I and in 1636 to display the great ceiling paintings by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Legendarily, King Charles I was executed, in Cromwell’s time, outside the building in 1649 on a temporary scaffold specially built for the occasion.
Banqueting House still has the only surviving in situ ceiling painting series by Rubens, a stunning canvas masterpiece commissioned by Charles I to commemorate his father’s life – King James I. The painting represents the Union of the Crowns, The Apotheosis of James I and the Peaceful Reign of James I. Banqueting House is also the only complete surviving building left of Whitehall Palace, which burnt down in 1698.
As part of the recent conservation project security window installations were part of the initial stage of works to repair and restore this stunning Grade I Listed building. Security was a significant concern when planning the works, as was decreasing the noise from the busy Whitehall thoroughfare. The design replaced the blast net curtains and allows daylight once again to flood into the Main Hall, as well as providing a significant level of noise insulation to ensure visitors peace and tranquillity when viewing the Rubens. Royal Warrant Holders, Selectaglaze, was approached to provide a fitting bespoke solution that not only offered protection to the large windows, but was a discreet and unobtrusive window treatment, to blend in with the historic Inigo Jones designed interior.
Selectaglaze knew it had products certified to the requirement, but they had never been specified to these sizes. The Main Hall window openings were 3.6m high and 2m wide. Two years ago, testing was carried out for what turned out to be the largest ever single casement to be blast tested in the UK. The results were a success and planning for the installation began.
Installing the units provided an interesting task as half the openings were at upper gallery level 10m above the main floor and the gallery could not be loaded. Working very closely with Gardner & Theobold, structural engineers Hockley & Dawson and Royal Warrant holding scaffolders Allen and Foxworthy, a careful method of installation was devised involving a columnar scaffolding design complete with lifting apparatus to each opening. In all, 39 units were installed.
“The windows look great, I bet you never thought you would hear me say that!” said the architect. As well as offering blast protection and noise insulation in access of 45dB, the secondary glazing also provides essential UV filtering to the Thomson Specification approved by the National Gallery, V&A and others.
Secondary glazing is fitted to the room side of a building and is a completely independent and fully reversible adaptation, widely accepted by most heritage bodies.
Selectaglaze is the specialist in the design, manufacture and installation of secondary glazing. With 50 years’ experience, it has worked on all building types, from new build hotels, to listed museums.
Banqueting House is managed by Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that also cares for the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington State Apartments, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.
For further information, literature and test results, please contact Selectaglaze on 01727 837271/e-mail:[email protected] or visit: www.selectaglaze.co.uk