Lighting up a gallery

The Hayward Gallery reopened in January 2018 following an extensive two-year refurbishment programme, which won the Riba London Award Awards and Riba the National Award 2019 in in May 2019.

The main focus of the refurbishment was the replacement of 66 glass pyramid rooflights that were re-engineered to let controlled natural lighting into the upper galleries for the first time.

For the new pyramid construction the architects chose to use aluminium profiles from Aluprof’s MB-SR50 curtain wall system. The four-sided pyramids are glazed on two sides with laminated low-iron glass and, to maintain weathering, the square base of the pyramid rooflight, used an additional 5° slopped, low-iron, double glazed unit.

The two glazed sides of the pyramid offer sun shading to the lower 5° sloped glazing, while allowing a view of the sky from below through the two open sides of the pyramid.

The 66 new pyramid rooflights replace the original, problematic, heavily leaded, single glazed Georgian glass units. Early in the building’s life these dysfunctional original units had been blocked out. Now, with the support of Aluprof, the building retains not only its original design intent but offers high levels of thermal efficiency thanks to the introduction of double glazing and high performance thermal breaks in the frame’s design.

With the careful selection of glass, the change in available light – as the sun is obscured by clouds – is minimised, thereby offering a more constant light level in the gallery space below. Reinstating a now controllable blackout blind below the rooflight offers further flexibility for the use of the gallery space below.