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Sheerness Dockyard Church: a pioneering restoration project with our glass partitions 

The Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust embarked on a monumental restoration project to revive the historic Dockyard Church, a significant architectural masterpiece that suffered extensive damage from a fire in 2001. The restoration aimed not only to repair the building but also to transform it into a vibrant and functional space that would serve the community and support local businesses. 

Sheerness Dockyard Church

Hugh Broughton Architects

Coniston Ltd

Optima Special Works’ Contribution 

Optima Special Works played a pivotal role in the restoration project working alongside main contractor Coniston Ltd, we transformed this outstanding Grade 2 listed building into a contemporary business enterprise facility and multi-use space, with a youth business support function and public access. The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded a £5.2 million grant which made this inspiring project possible. The fantastic space is made up of an open communal space, café and bookable meeting and conference rooms on the ground floor. A dynamic and open plan atrium looks over the ground floor and works as a member only coworking spaces, designed to promote and support a variety of working styles. 

Our glass partitions and doors are installed extensively throughout the restoration, creating a collection of meeting room spaces and kitchen area on the ground floor. Fire rated and non-fire rated glass doors installed at the entrance to the Church and on the atrium continue the rustic and contemporary style whilst delivering fire safety throughout.  

Optima 117 Plus Glass Partition Screens 

The Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust wanted to create a dynamic multi-purpose space that puts Sheerness back on the map, providing much needed support for local people and new businesses. Optima 117 Plus Shoreditch Edition glass partitions were strategically designed to bring new life into the church, creating a seamless blend of modern functionality and historical significance. Timelessly elegant, Optima 117 Plus Shoreditch Edition glass partitions create a variety of high-performance, sleek spaces including meeting and boardrooms as well as kitchen and staff areas. Edge Symmetry Shoreditch Edition single glazed doors were seamlessly integrated into the design, continuing the sophisticated transformation of the church whilst further enhancing the performance of the spaces. With an acoustic rating of Rw36dB, this double leaf framed doors offer outstanding acoustic performance with their superior perimeter seals.  

Acoustic and visual privacy for a serine restorative atmosphere 

Making beautiful private rooms out of the open central hall of the church, this sophisticated glass partitioning system adds to the striking design of the space whilst offering acoustic and visual privacy. Achieving up to Rw40dB with 16.8mm acoustic laminate glass Optima 117 Plus provides outstanding acoustic performance whilst flooding the different spaces with natural light. This refined system offers the ideal acoustic escape from the hustle and bustle of the communal area. Furthermore, the reeded manifestation installed on the bottom two glass panels, adds much-needed visual privacy to the spaces, allowing users to work and meet in confidence without impacting the level of natural light that flows through the church.  

A unique design flourish  

For the restoration of the church, we added a unique design flourish, installing an additional line of Optima 117 Plus screens above the main system. This bespoke top line of glass partitions adds an unparalleled aesthetic flair to the church’s interior. These screens not only enhanced the visual appeal but also facilitated the influx of natural light, creating an inviting and uplifting atmosphere and fostering a sense of openness and connectivity within the design. 

Technishield 65 Fire Rated and Non-Fire Rated Doors 

In addition to the glass partitions, we installed Technishield 65 fire-rated and non-fire-rated doors. Technishield 65 EI30 framed screens and doors were installed in the inner entrance to the church as well as on the second floor atrium leading to the restored cantilever staircase down to the vestibule. Delivering as standard, 30 minutes integrity and insulation, Technishield 65 fire rated systems provide high-performing solutions that meet the visual and practical demands of Sheerness Dockyard Church. Technishield 65 side screens wrap around the fire rated doors, housing the original external church doors and Technishield 65 doors. Additionally, we also installed over panels that enclose the door, welcomes visitors and feature the Island Works logo.  

Technishield 65 non fire rated glazed doors were also installed at the back of the building. One of the doors leads to the upper atrium Island Works coworking space, and the other to the building’s facilities.  

Impact and Transformation 

The successful installation of the glass partitions and doors by Optima Special Works played a pivotal role in the transformation of the Dockyard Church. The seamless integration of modern design elements within the historical context breathed new life into the space, creating an environment that is both functional and visually captivating. The influx of natural light, the open and airy ambiance, and the striking design attributes have redefined the church as a versatile and welcoming venue. 

Senior Project Manager, Gavin Evans shares his thoughts on this fantastic restoration:  

“To be part of this outstanding restoration project and give the Sheerness Dockyard Church a new lease of life was a true pleasure. From start to finish, the project has been a merging of minds and creativity to transform the church into a shining space that will support the people of Sheppey in so many ways. Congratulations to everyone involved in this historic project.” 

Testament to collaboration  

The Sheerness Dockyard Church restoration project stands as a testament to the successful collaboration between the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust, Coniston Ltd, Optima Special Works and the rest of the project team. Our bespoke glass partitions and doors and fire rated systems have not only revitalised the church but have also set a new standard for blending modern design with historical preservation. The project serves as an inspiring example of how innovative architectural solutions can breathe new life into heritage sites, ensuring their importance for generations to come. 

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