Groves-Raines Architects

Lerwick Town Hall

Restoration

The category A-listed Town Hall in Lerwick dates from 1883 and is the most important civic building in Shetland. Groves-Raines Architects were commissioned to carry out an ambitious £1.2 million restoration and repair package incorporating the conservation and protection of a nationally significant collection of secular stained glass windows, designed and created by several of the leading makers of the time.

The stained glass windows in the building had suffered for many years due to their harsh salt-laden environment; and although efforts had been made over the years to conserve them by applying external flexible polycarbonate sheeting, it had not been enough to significantly protect the historic glass.

The traditional isothermal glazing method was adopted and a prototype designed and built which addressed the very specific technical issues caused by the previous restoration methods and the particular physical environment. Following extensive research and testing, Groves-Raines Architects with Cannon MacInnes developed and installed a newly-patented non-ferrous isothermal glazing system which isolates the glass from the external environment while providing full adjustability and accessibility for maintenance.

Further to this, the most deteriorated masonry around the windows openings has been removed and replaced with a salt-resistant stone with high cohesive strength which will result in good longevity and resilience to the extreme maritime external environment. These technical improvements, combined with the creation of sensitive interpretation have opened up the building to the public, increased the number of visitors to the area and greatly enhanced the long-term prospects for the building.

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