Highbury Square East Stand

Highbury Square East Stand

Location: Highbury Square, London N5

Contractor: Sir Robert McApline

Value: £ 700K

Carried out: October 2007 to April 2009


The conversion of the grade II listed East Stand of the former Arsenal football ground into prestigious apartments required Steel Window Services to supply and install W20 range replica steel windows and to fully renovate the retained existing steel windows at their workshops.

Steel Window Services Champions Hope for Gunners

London football club Arsenal, 'The Gunners', are not just talented on the pitch, its former stadium is also Grade II listed. When it came to refurbishing its 90-year-old steel windows, the club called in some top-class contractors, who would champion the original steel windows.

In addition to refurbishing many of the original windows, Steel Window Service & Supplies supplied many identically styled units made according to the W20 specification.

The project meant that mainly 'marginal pane' pivoting lights could be enhanced with modern draught-stripping, 16mm double glazing and a factory-applied polyester powder paint finished in 'Arsenal Red'. Crucially, more thermally efficient, 12mm double glazed units were also introduced into the original frames after they had been removed for cleaning, repair and corrosion protection. The replacement glazing was also accompanied by the provision of new glazing beads and new matching ironmongery.

"It was lovely to see the stadium before it turned into a building site and to have a wander around while it was still a proper football club," said Mick Harris, project surveyor and an Arsenal fan.

"It was a real insight. There were the famous marble halls and you could see how they kept their pitch in tip-top condition all year round by using special lighting."

Steel Window Services removed over 170 steel windows in the grade II listed East Stand. They ranged in size from 500mm by a metre tall to more than 1.5m wide and three metres tall, with a huge range of sizes going up the building and many composite windows coupled together.

Once removed, the company went to work on the old frames revitalising the steel windows so that the original single glazed windows with centre-pane U values of 5.7 W/m2K or so, can be upgraded glazing with centre pane U values of 1.9 W/m2K or better.

"We used 11.2mm double glazing units that were gas filled with a mixture of inert gases and supplied with a low 'E' coating to the inner face of the inner pane and warm edge reduced-sightline spacer bars," said Harris.

"It is difficult to believe you could do this with windows made of anything but steel. It would be very challenging to remove a 90-year-old timber window and breathe new life into it."

In addition to refurbishing the original frames, Steel Window Service & Supplies created an additional 95 windows. These meet the up to the minute W20 standards but were made to replicate the style of the originals, with the main difference being the use of 16mm glazing units.

The job was worth about £700k to Steel Window Service & Supplies and the company had a full-time staff of about 30 on-site for more than three months.

"One of the most challenging aspects of the project was the level of care required to renovate the frames fully. Attention to detail was crucial to replace the defective corroded sections, to cast replica-replacement ironmongery and to completely strip and re-coat the old frames. 'Arsenal Red' mastics to match the frames were specially manufactured to add the finishing touch to the windows," said Mick Harris.

"It was very satisfying to be involved in a project of this size and stature right on our doorstep. It was great for Steel Window Service and Supplies."

The steel window specialist was selected by Sir Robert McAlpine as a package contractor/supply chain partner for the work on the East Stand of what is to be known as Highbury Stadium Square, a high-quality residential development. The company was given the task of repairing and re-glazing the original frames, as well as fabricating and installing 95 new windows in an authentic style.

Matthew Hahn, managing director of Steel Window Service & Supplies, met the main contractor McAlpine's at the close of the works and both parties agreed that working closely together with mutual respect had resulted in the successful completion of the contract.