Kawneer Helps to Transform an Iconic London Library

20th May, 2024


Built in 1964 and designed by Sir Basil Spence, Swiss Cottage Library is widely recognised as a masterpiece of civic London architecture.

Grade II listed, the 52,506 square feet building remains a key local epicentre of community life. One of the largest energy consumers in the London Borough of Camden it was in need of a major fabric, mechanical and electrical refurbishment. The aim was to improve the internal conditioning and prevent high levels of heat loss.

The introduction of the new Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) marked an ideal moment for the council to improve the building to modern standards by using low carbon technologies as part of the commitment to deliver Camden Net Zero by 2030.


The initial phase of the project included a focus on upgrading the existing single-glazed windows. The old mastic and packers that contained asbestos, had to be removed under strictly controlled conditions using an airtight tent with boarded openings.

Architects Atkins chose Kawneer’s AA®720 SL Slimline Casement Window, installed by Kawneer specialist subcontractor EuroWindows Ltd, in addition to AA®720 Fixed Lights and Horizontal Pivots, AA®3610 Vertical Sliding Windows and AA®190 TB Doors.

The AA®720 SL Slimline Casement Window with its ultra slim sightlines was specified by Atkins as it was the ideal choice for use on the Grade II listed building. The BRE Green Guide ‘A’ Rated narrow frame also maximises the glazing vision whilst delivering optimum weather and thermal performance with a superior and modern look.

Kawneer’s support team provided back up to Atkins throughout the project, including on-site technical support.


The building was kept open at all times and the project also represents a blueprint for other planned London Borough of Camden retrofits. It is expected to realise running cost savings of more than £31,000 a year, in addition to achieving carbon savings of 138 tonnes of CO2e.

The two-year renewal scheme, constructed by property maintenance specialists Ergro, cost £3.7m and has delivered better energy efficiency, a decarbonised heating source and important building repairs, while simultaneously maintaining Sir Basil Spence’s iconic original envelope design.

Library users are now enjoying enhanced levels of comfort to help ensure that the building remains and becomes an even more essential local community hub.

For further information, please contact:
Jane Ashley
Marketing Executive
Kawneer UK Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 1928 502500

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