It may be indelibly linked, in the minds of many, to the British Broadcasting Corporation, but the iconic Bush House in Aldwych, London, has a rich history with global connections.
The, now, Japanese-owned building gets its name from the original designer and owner, American trader, Irving Bush, who lavished around $10 million in the 1920s on what was then declared the 'most expensive building in the world'. It's possibly located on the site of a Roman bath house and was extensively damaged in 1940 by the Luftwaffe.
Its role as the home to the BBC World Service, particularly during the war years, earned it a place in the hearts of many, although perhaps not that of noted former Bush House worker, George Orwell. By the time the BBC's stay at the Grade II listed building came to an end in 2012, plans were already underway to begin a two year project, costing £60 million, to restore it to its former glory, creating new luxury office space in the process.
JLL, ISG and John Robertson Architects were appointed to upgrade and restore the historic building in just 77 weeks; a timeframe which would allow the owners to reduce costs and maximise revenues. Nevertheless, a BREEAM environmental assessment target of 'Excellent' was set, making secondary glazing a vital aid to achieving a grade 'A' rated environment.
Part of the unique appeal of secondary glazing, is the ability to bring modern thermal and acoustic insulation to buildings, whilst remaining respectful to the original design aesthetics. Even so, in this instance Granada worked with ISG and JRA to develop a completely new product — the odd leg horizontal sliding sash, with 6.4mm low 'e' laminate glass. Horizontal sliding is ideal for casement and ribbon windows, and provides flexibility for heritage properties with bespoke primary windows. That flexibility extended to the unique 'odd leg' build out detail, providing ISG with a more appropriate and secure flush aluminium alloy sub-frame detailing.
The mix of new technology, together with respect for the traditional, has helped to improve the building's functionality, whilst remaining true to its original spirit. There are few more prestigious buildings with a richer heritage than Bush House, and there was clearly a need to stay true to the original design.
Much of the renovation concerned itself with restoring original features, such as the original 1930s staircase. New interventions, such as the floor numbers and lighting, are also in complementary style, but the windows and views beyond, are such a key feature. They show the new Bush House at it's best, allowing the owners to promote the retention of the original fittings, whilst benefiting from improved sound and heat retention.