St George’s Chapel, London

SITUATION:

Westminster Cathedral is one of the busiest churches in the United Kingdom. Located in the heart of London, it is the Catholic mother-church of England & Wales. To mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the barrel vault ceiling and main arches of the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs underwent a complete redesign.

The new design was commissioned to renowned artist Tom Phillips CBE RA and was made of hand cut Venetian glass and gold-faced tesserae. Over 500,000 pieces covered the 120 m2 area.

CHALLENGES:

  • Active church, minimal disruption allowed
  • Centuries of candle soot on the ceiling
  • Over 500,000 pieces of glass and gold-faced tesserae

SOLUTION:

TMRC was awarded the renovation project, headed up by one of the UK’s leading specialists, Gary Bricknell. Bricknell worked with Adam Willmott, ARDEX Business Development Manager, to create a system for rendering the concrete ceiling and the brick side walls with decades of soot contamination. ARDEX AM 100 Rapid Hardening Tiling Render was chosen for application to a mechanically fixed expanding metal lathe. ARDEX AM 100 is pre-blended, meaning it can be easily mixed with an electric paddle mixer at the workface, as use of a cement mixer in the busy church was not an option. ARDEX AM 100 allowed the tiles to be fixed after only 2 hours, minimising the overall installation time.

ARDEX X 7 Flexible Tile Adhesive provided a good working time window for the intricate mosaic with an impressive 5 hour pot life. ARDEX-FLEX FS Flexible Tile Grout, a water and dirt repellent tile grout, is tested to ensure a uniform colour distribution which eliminates streaking during mixing.

PARTICIPANTS:

Specialist: Gary Bricknell
General Contractor: The Mosaic Restoration Company (TMRC)
Artist: Tom Phillips CBE RA

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