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
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERBSW, Dewhurst Macfarlane
SERVICES CONSULTANT Howard Alan
MAIN CONTRACTOR Cooper Construction
SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS
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