Ion Glass were commissioned to install bespoke glass balustrades to create a new gallery for the existing chapel at Hurst College in West Sussex. The growing popularity of Hurst College has seen the number of pupils attending the senior school rise from almost 50% over the last five years.
But the awe-inspiring chapel, built in 1872 and at the very heart of school life, posed a more difficult problem as it has always been a tradition for all the pupils and staff to meet together at least once a week. As Chaplain Jeremy Sykes pointed out "we could have held two separate Eucharist services to solve our space problem; however this would have meant sacrificing the significance of all pupils and staff meeting together."
Ion Glass has previously worked on a number of educational projects and is not only familiar with the health and safety requirements of installing glass in a busy school environment but also regularly undertakes work in heritage buildings, ensuring that the glass fits and functions perfectly in conjunction with centuries old architecture. To ensure minimal visual intrusion, channel-set glass balustrades were installed around the suspended gallery, enabling those sitting within the gallery to view the chapel unhindered.
As part of the project glass screens were also installed behind the gallery, linking the chapel to the schools magnificent dining hall and connecting the chapel to the daily life of the school. Further balustrading was installed to the steps leading in to the gallery, adding contemporary style to the surroundings of the new gallery. Chaplain Jeremy Sykes said that he is "very pleased with the new gallery", describing it as "beautiful architecture that does not detract from the rest of the chapel".
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