1st August 2021

Newcastle Library

The Project

  • The new library was built as part of a £40.2 million private finance initiative scheme.
  • One of the biggest public libraries in the UK featuring access on two levels, the new library will include a 185 seat performance space, displays of local heritage treasures, a crèche, a café and computers - reflecting the revolution in new information technology.
  • Standing in an area with vast pedestrian access which connects the retail city centre, the universities and the cultural centres, the library provides a catalyst for regeneration in this area of the city. The library also has a viewing gallery giving panoramic views of the city.
  • Originally designed by renowned architect Sir Basil Spence and constructed in the 1960’s, the original library closed in September 2006. The new library was handed over to Newcastle City Council on March 3rd 2009.
  • Dow silicone insulating glazing and structural bonding products were specified not only due to their proven performance record but also thanks to Dow Corning’s industry quality assurance initiative, Quality Bond™.

The Challenge

The structurally glazed John Dobson Street façade of the city library features a giant piece of artwork, named ‘Four Questions’, which was created by local artist Kathryn Hodgkinson. This, through the use of laminated graphics, incorporates the words of local Newcastle residents, who responded to the four questions ‘what makes you happy’, ‘what do you fear’, ‘what would you change’ and ‘what gives you hope’. It was produced using over 1500 square metres of a new generation of temperable solar control glass from Saint Gobain which gives a high level of neutrality whilst reducing heat at the same time. 

Each of the large 276 panels

which were typically 1500 x 4050 mm in size, had to be bonded correctly within a unitized Schuco system and individually referenced, produced and packed in sequence so that they could be installed in order on site to create this stunning image.

Each of the large 276 panels

The Solution

Due to the complexity of this façade construction and with quality assurance and good workmanship always a priority, curtain wall contractor Dane Architectural Systems Ltd insisted on the selection of insulating and structural bonding fabricators which had a long
and proven performance record of project success. Solaglas of Coventry were selected for the fabrication of the insulating glass units and Structural Glazing Ltd carried out the structural bonding of these units onto the unitized curtain wall frame. Goff Monaghan,
Technical Director of Dane Architectural Systems Ltd explained ‘Both Solaglas and Structural Glazing Ltd have been audited and certified as Dow Quality Bond™ members. We recognise the considerable benefit and peace of mind that specifying members on construction projects can offer since this recent initiative from Dow ensures that improved quality assurance and quality management principles are closely followed’.

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