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Return of the Dragons The restoration of Kew Gardens’ Great Pagoda

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When it was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1762, the Great Pagoda that towers 50 metres over Kew Gardens was regarded as the most spectacular garden folly in England. And it remains a spectacular site, having recently undergone a £5million restoration that Sunsquare is proud to have been a part of.

When it was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1762, the Great Pagoda that towers 50 metres over Kew Gardens was regarded as the most spectacular garden folly in England. And it remains a spectacular site, having recently undergone a £5million restoration that Sunsquare is proud to have been a part of.

The restoration by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) included the reinstatement of the famous brightly coloured dragons that were once perched on every ridge of the pagoda’s 10 octagonal storeys. The 80 dragons have been admired by thousands of visitors over the summer season. The elegant internal timber staircase that Chambers designed is the original and remains intact due to careful preservation.

However, the several holes cut into the landings by the Royal Aircraft Establishment, to test smoke curtains used to camouflage low-flying aircraft in WWII, presented a challenge to the HRP team. It was decided that this part of the Pagoda’s history should also be preserved and form part of a feature for visitors to enjoy. Sunsquare worked closely with HRP to design, manufacture and install a Floorlight to fill this historic hole half way up the building, giving a magnificent (if vertigo-inducing) view of it.

As the Floorlight is in a public building it has been designed to take a concentrated load of 2.7Kn. Sunsquare’s extensive Floorlight range includes a range of anti-slip finishes, also being available in multi-pane and Firerated versions for both domestic or commercial applications. The installation at the Great Pagoda showcases our commitment to safety while showcasing our sleek and seamless designs.

Delighted with the completed project, Project Manager Rob Umney said:

“Sunsquare’s elegant range of rooflights have adorned dozens of heritage projects around the UK, from Grade Il* listed buildings to Abbeys, Castles, and Follys. Closed for the winter, the Great Pagoda will be reopening on the 4th April 2019 – Head along to see Sunsquare’s hard work in action.”

If you have a project that requires skylights, or any other Sunsquare product that could benefit the design, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Photo credit: © Kew Gardens and © Historic Royal Palaces

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