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Silver Arcade, Leicester

One of the UK’s finest Victorian shopping arcades transformed with multiple new glazing installations

An historic shopping arcade in Leicester which is one of the only examples of its kind in the UK was given a new lease of life in the 21st century high street following a £3m refit involving multiple glazing installations by Glassolutions.

The Grade II listed Silver Arcade, which features 20 retail units, was built in 1891 and is believed to be one of only two four-storey arcades in the UK.  Despite being an iconic Leicester building, it had been closed for more than 10 years and consequently fell into disrepair before a redevelopment project started in 2009.

Appointed by the developer Lukegate Limited, Glassolutions’ Contracting and Commercial Glazing teams collaborated to deliver a huge array of glazing for the award-winning project, internally and externally including rooflights.


Overview

Silver Arcade is located in the heart of Leicester city centre. With the arcade’s Cank Street entrance located on a street linked to the city centre’s pedestrianised shopping areas, the project required an attractive main entrance and with aluminium curtain walling screens to deliver visually appealing ground floor retail premises.

Being a Grade II listed building, Glassolutions was tasked to deliver sympathetic designs whilst utilising today’s advanced systems.


Outcomes

Glassolutions created the main entrance glazing to sit behind an ornate Victorian archway within an overall frame almost 7m high, featuring twin frameless glass double-doors with  SPIDERGLASS point-fixed glazing above.

The main façade glass was 12mm clear, heat soaked, with the doors being 19.5mm heat-soaked toughened glass.

Complementing this modern entrance, the ground floor retail units feature ground floor framing curtain wall screens 2.7m high and around 5.5m in width.  These were created using Technal series 1000 framing, powder coated with a contemporary glossy grey finish, and featuring thermally superior double glazed units with a 6.4mm clear laminated safety glass outer pane.

Inside the building, Glassolutions was tasked with all shop-front glazing for retail premises as well as glazing for communal areas.  This included a glazed lift shaft covering five storeys in height featuring 13.5mm clear toughened laminated glass attached to a steel frame using bolt fixings – this glass structure was then secured to the building’s concrete floor slabs with steel brackets.

The internal glass screens for retail units typically consist of a 25mm x 25mm channel (cill and sides) frame with 12mm clear toughened glass installed – with frameless glass doors featuring satin stainless steel handles.  Fire-rated doors, automatic glazed door sets, balustrades and stunning glazed folding sliding doors also feature within shop-fronts.

Additional internal glazing elements completed by Glassolutions included balustrading for access ramps and a 1.5m high by 1.1m wide glass security gate for the top of a stairway.

The final part of the project involved the installation of full length patent glazed rooflights.  Working in conjunction with specialist aluminium fabricator Architectural Products Limited, Glassolutions provided over 120m2 of roof glazing which replicated the original design whilst bringing to roof up to date with thermal and acoustic standards.

The rooflights feature double glazed units configured with a 6mm SECURIT outer pane, a 16mm spacer bar and a 6.4mm STADIP inner pane.  STADIP provides a combination of acoustic and thermal insulation with its construction of two sheets of glass bonded together with a PVB plastic interlayer.  In the event of breakage, the glass fragments remain bonded to the plastic interlayer, and in a fully framed conventional installation the glass fragments are held together so the glass retains a residual strength while awaiting replacement.

SECURIT is a toughened safety glass which provides significantly increased resistance to mechanical and thermal stresses compared to conventional annealed glass.  The sealed units were fitted into the structural frame creating using a combination of aluminium and timber, with the building’s original timber roof structure restored where required to support the new rooflights.

“We are extremely pleased with the result of the Silver Arcade project. It’s a beautifully restored Grade II listed building that will enhance the character and appearance of Leicester’s Market Place and High Street Conservation Areas, as well as preserving, and in many ways enhancing, the architectural and historic importance of Silver Arcade.

“Glassolutions played a key role in the successful project delivery, with the numerous glazing elements being crucial in achieving the desired aesthetics, safety and security.”

 

Shaun Chawla, owner and company director of Silver Arcade developer Lukegate Limited

“The refurbishment has given the building a new lease of life and guarantees its future for decades to come as a well-loved piece of Leicester's City Centre and historic identity.”

Shaun Chawla, owner and company director of Silver Arcade developer Lukegate Limited

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