Glazed basalt. Not a new material but one that is relatively new to building cladding, having developed primarily for use as kitchen counter tops. Szerelmey have recently completed the refurbishment of One New Oxford Street, which has seen the Art Deco building transformed with the addition of green glazed basalt cladding. Glazed basalt affords all the benefits of stone cladding, particularly with regard to the tight tolerances that can be achieved while also offering a range of coloured glazes; for design and installation purposes Szerelmey treats the material exactly the same as stone. The scope of coloured finishes achievable is extremely wide and the finish very uniform. The other glazed material that Szerelmey specialises in is faience, which is glazed terracotta. Unlike the basalt greater tolerances are to be expected with faience due to shrinkage and warping that can occur during firing, but the range of colours, finishes and shapes achievable are far greater. Both glazed basalt and faience generally have a long lead in period which is worth considering when at the design stages, both materials are easy to clean, low maintenance, versatile and have good fire-retardant properties.
One New Oxford Street represents one of many projects where the Szerelmey Restoration and New Build teams worked alongside each other. Restoration carried out an extensive cleaning package, survey and repair works to the three facades of the building. This included removing existing cladding to expose the supporting structures beneath to allow the New Build team to install the glazed basalt. Further restoration work was carried out to the striking clock tower.