Cleaning of historical Gibbs' Building
King’s is due to complete phase two of the cleaning of the historical Gibbs’ building in the Front Court. Phase one of the project, cleaning the middle section of the eastern elevation, was completed last October 2014. The cleaning process continued with phase two, cleaning the remainder of the building as well as repairing and painting the windows. While phase two is expected to conclude this month, the entire project is set to conclude in mid 2016 when additional conservation work, primarily to the stonework around the lower windows, is undertaken.
The second oldest building in College, the Gibbs’ building is named after its architect, James Gibbs. The building was constructed using White Portland Stone. Construction dates to 1724, though technically the first stone was laid in 1461 when masons left behind a large block of stone in the Front Court. More information about the historical building can be found here, with an online tour of King’s buildings provided here.
Phase two of the project has avoided the use of both scaffolding and a water-based approach as was used in phase one, opting instead for façade gommage. Trademarked by Thomann-Hanry, this process involves projecting fine powders with compressed air. By cleaning masonry without reliance on chemicals, water or detergent, façade gommage is a preferred choice for the preservation of historical buildings as well as being much faster, cheaper and less disruptive.
The pleasure given by now being able to better appreciate and see more detail on the Gibbs' building has already resulted in discussions in the College on which other of our iconic buildings should be cleaned next and when – more on this as plans are confirmed!