A job to be proud of Star and Garter

Date: 30 January 2019

The second in our series of blogs showcasing plastering craftsmanship in action.

This month, we caught up with Geoff Cox, Managing Director at PM White Drylining, the contractor on the redevelopment of the Star and Garter – one of the most opulent and well-known buildings in the picturesque area of Richmond, Surrey.

Tell us a bit about the project.

Originally built in 1924 as a home for injured servicemen, the Star and Garter is a lavish Grade II listed building that has been transformed into a series of luxury residences. The developer, London Square, put a strong emphasis on quality and workmanship; looking to restore the building using the best finishes available, while preserving its heritage.

For that reason, it was decided that lightweight internal partitions were the most appropriate solution, rather than blockwork and plaster – however, we opted for products that would deliver high levels of robustness, durability and acoustic and fire performance. 

In order to segment the expansive spaces of the former hospital wards into the individual apartment footprints, a twin frame acoustic wall system was used for the party walls. The internal partitions were constructed using the durable GypWall CLASSIC metal stud system.

Were there any challenges?

Working within such an historic listed building definitely has its own set of challenges! For example, ornate plaster ceiling details had to be painstakingly restored, using careful hand-application of gold leaf, as stipulated by the heritage officers at Richmond Council’s planning department. 

Some apartments had storey heights of over five metres, whereas some were less than 2.5 metres, which made access challenging.  There were also numerous coffered ceiling details that had to be reconstructed to retain the period aesthetics, while also accommodating modern services and lighting. A concealed monolithic metal frame suspended ceiling system fronted with a double layer of Gyproc WallBoard, was used to create a seamless finish. This also allowed the services access points to be easily incorporated during construction.

However, the biggest challenge we faced was the discovery of lots of unexpected structural elements – including numerous steel beams – that were not on the original architectural drawings. As these are holding the building up, we had to work around them and find different ways to clad them with fire protection – and we had to do this as tightly as possible while still allowing room for services and other trades’ work. 

What are you most proud of?

The meticulous refurbishment of the Star and Garter has proven to be a more exacting, complex and yet rewarding project than we ever could have imagined. We’ve achieved a stunning finish that bears testament to the hard work, imagination and skill of all involved. Our client, London Square, tells us that they’ve had numerous complements on the standard of workmanship and finishes which makes us incredibly proud.

Find out more about the Star and Garter project.

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