By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Glazing package for Plymouth

news in pictures

It would be hard to imagine two more different buildings than a Victorian fish market and a 1990s semi-industrial glass-blowing studio. Form Design Group was given the task of merging the two into one by Dartington Glass, with a brief that called for the refurbishment of a Grade II-listed fish market in Sutton Harbour, Plymouth to provide a retail outlet, and an adjoining new-build glass-blowing studio.

The fish market was designed by the Great Western Railway's chief engineer Sir James Inglis in 1892 and shares many features with typical gwr buildings of that era.

Structural engineer Dewhurst Macfarlane worked closely with glass producer F A Firman to design the glazing package which solved the problem of enclosing the shop without obscuring the characterful Victorian architecture of the original market. The glazed walls, made of silicone-jointed body-tinted laminated glass, are supported on inverted T beams sunk in the ground around the floor periphery, and strengthened against dead load and wind load by glass fins at 3m centres; the top edge of the glazing supports the projecting roof, taking weight off the frail wrought-iron girders.

The air-handling system is housed in the roof of the lobby connecting the shop to the studio. In summer, cool air is taken in through grilles at the base of the wall , passed through underfloor ducts and vented at the base of the columns; in winter, warm air is circulated.

The limestone-clad steel-frame studio is square in plan with a curved end wall addressing a part of the quayside designated for future development as a public events space. The public can watch glass blowers from behind a protective barrier inside the top-lit studio, or through full-height angled slots on the landward side, or a large translucent opening glazed with Reglit panels on the seaward side. A two-tier, pre-patinated copper roof is topped by a lantern which functions as a ventilation chimney, strategically placed over the furnace.

Main photographs by Peter Cook/view


CLIENT Sutton Harbour Company, Dartington Crystal

ARCHITECT Form Design Group



MAIN CONTRACTOR Cooper Construction


glazed assemblies FA Firman, cutting and fixing of limestone cladding Drings of Bath, glass planks Reglit, copper roof sheeting kme, flat-roof single-ply membrane Sarnafil, internal finishes Osmo

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters