St Mary at the Quay, Ipswich

Structural Glass Entrance Lobby


St Mary at the Quay, Ipswich. The church, originally built in the 1500’s had fallen into disuse. It was recently restored and renovated to create a heritage and wellness centre. Ion Glass were commissioned by Bakers of Danbury on behalf of Suffolk Mind and the Churches Conservation Trust.


Commendation Award Winner 2018 – Award Contributor


RICS Building Conservation Award Winner 2017 – Award Contributor


Structural glass entrance lobby; glass door; structural glass fins


St Mary at the Quay is a Grade II mediaeval building on the waterfront at Ipswich that had been at the heart of the community and undergone many changes over the centuries but had fallen into disuse over the last 50 years. The Churches Conservation Trust and Suffolk Mind developed a shared vision for the restoration on the building, creating a heritage and wellbeing centre to serve the community and enhance the regeneration of the area.

Substantial use of structural glass throughout the building ensured contemporary functionality without detracting from the magnificence of the original architecture.

The glass entrance lobby in particular, provides a welcoming space that offers immediate visual access to the restored nave whilst at the same time protecting the building from draughts and heat loss via the original entrance.

Technical Information

The structural glass lobby was created from 12mm toughened glass to create a space that fits below the mezzanine floor, without the need to move the ancient font from its original position to the right of the entrance. The construction involved a concealed fixing detail to overcome the differing glass specifications between the 15mm glass panels of the balustrade above and the 12mm glass panels of the lobby.

Structural glass fins were used to stabilise the glass panels for a stylish and minimal result, with the glass secured by simple stainless steel patch fittings.

The glass entrance lobby was completed with a fully sprung glass door, fitted with a simple stainless steel ‘D’ handle. Full security for the building is provided by the outer door, so locks were not required.

The resulting glass structure is robust and functional, fully compliant and meeting all glass and building requirements.

  • Quay Place was opened in November 2016. Visitors to the restored building have been immediately impressed with the finished results and both the managers and the team of volunteers who work at Quay Place were full of praise for the restoration, commenting on how the use of structural glass in a heritage environment improves the functionality of the building without losing any of the intrinsic atmosphere.

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