History in the heart of Whitehall protected with the help of Selectaglaze

    The Banqueting House, Whitehall lies at the heart of the tourist trail with Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street and Trafalgar Square all a short walk away.

    Banqueting House is managed and cared for 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.

    Inigo Jones designed the current Banqueting House in 1619-22 after its predecessor was destroyed by fire. Since its construction, Banqueting House has stood witness to many historical events; its primary use was to stage State events, masques, provide private drinking space for James I and in 1636 to display the great ceiling paintings of James I by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Famously, 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 contains the only surviving in situ ceiling painting series by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, a breath-taking canvas masterpiece commissioned by Charles I to commemorate his father's life - King James I. The painting depicts 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.

    The security window installations were part of the first phase of works to repair and restore this stunning Grade I Listed building. Security was a key concern when planning the works, as was reducing the noise breakthrough 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 Holder, Selectaglaze, was approached by Carden & Godfrey Architects 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 2.0m 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 challenge as half the openings were at upper gallery level 10m above the main floor. The gallery could not be loaded. Working very closely with Gardiner & Theobald, 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!" commented 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 fifty years' experience, it has worked on all building types, from new build hotels, to Listed museums.

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