Cardiff Royal Infirmary
The Grade II listed chapel building of Cardiff Royal Infirmary had remained largely inaccessible to the public since the closure of a library on the site in 2014. The proposed refurbishment and renovation work, which forms part of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s multi-year ‘Shaping Our Future Wellbeing’ strategy, would help revitalise the chapel and provide a community-focused space that would add value to the local area.
Though the chapel had not been actively used as a place of worship for over 20 years, the City of Cardiff Council had also requested that any refurbishment work on the chapel would be carried out sensitively as per both the building’s listed status and religious heritage.
The solution, designed by architects Stride Treglown, would provide a modern, dynamic space for the public, at the centre of which would be an elevated ‘pod’ structure to provide extra floorspace. It would see the interior transformed and house a library, a café, a health and wellbeing centre, meeting spaces, and a suite of computers for public use.
A key consideration for this project was to take advantage of the architectural and aesthetic features of the chapel building and integrate these where possible into the updated environment. The use of glass throughout would help achieve this.
Planet’s long track record in providing glazed solutions for use in public settings made us the perfect partner; working through our Western contracting office, we were commissioned by contractors R&M Williams and architects Stride Treglown to add our expertise to the project.
First, our slimline single-glazed p20 partitioning system was installed and combined with structural glazing fixed on top, creating an eye-catching glass screen with minimal framework within one of the chapel’s stone archways.
Panels of structural glazing were also used to create windows in the pod itself. These were angled to match the pod shape and strategically placed to allow a view of the chapel’s many historical features, including the existing stained-glass windows. This worked to allow a stunning flow of vibrant, coloured natural light to penetrate into the internal space. Furthermore, our p20XL partitioning — which can be manufactured up to 4600mm in height — was used in places to create even larger uninterrupted expanses of glass to further maximise this effect.
For fire protection Planet installed fire rated glass from the ARC FireTec system, used in punchout windows down the stairwell and along the designated emergency exit route on the ground level. FireTec doors with GEZE powered door operation were also used.
Finally, with construction work taking place throughout 2020, adherence to additional health and safety procedures was of vital importance. Measures such as social distancing and reduction of tool sharing helped to reduce risk and ensured the chance of unexpected delays were kept to an absolute minimum.
This project was a pleasure to work on and a fantastic example of how Planet’s glazed partitioning systems can be adapted to suit any type of built environment. The finished work fully met the brief of providing a useful and modern set of facilities while remaining respectful to the historical nature of the chapel.
The work on the chapel of Cardiff Royal Infirmary has delivered on its aim of providing a valuable resource to multiple stakeholder groups including patients, service users and the wider local community. The development has become a model for future community projects across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
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