Linking old buildings with a new extension

In many situations heritage buildings or older properties simply don’t have the space or the facilities required to meet contemporary needs.   Adding an extension to an existing construction can raise some interesting challenges, especially when the original building dates back hundreds of years.

Consideration has to be given not just to the aesthetics of the new addition but also to the physical interface between modern building technology and the centuries old techniques employed by the original builders.

A defined link between the two creates an aesthetic division and also provide a physical buffer between the harder more inflexible modern addition and the often less rigorous construction of the heritage property. 

As a spokesman for English Heritage points out: ‘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.’

Ion Glass have worked closely with architects and builders on a number of varied heritage and ecclesiastical projects where the properties of glass as a structural material have played a key role in designs to modernise, improve or extend the building.

As Ion Glass MD Peter Hazeldean points out, ‘It’s not just about arriving at an attractive  design and meeting the technical specifications for the project, any glass installation in a heritage building has to meet the requirements of numerous interested bodies and organisations.  We need to be aware not just of modern building and glazing specifications but also work sensitively alongside conservation officers, English Heritage and bodies such as the Victorian Society.’

 ‘Glass has been incorporated into buildings for centuries and the contemporary use of structural glass to link old buildings with modern additions or to open up and link spaces internally can achieve the best possible result.  

Installing glass in heritage buildings provides a contemporary result that works with ancient architecture  – both structurally and aesthetically.’

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 or aim for a wholly contemporary new addition 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.’

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