Category: Case Studies

Beautifully designed timber windows for any environment

Timber windows can stand up to even the harshest weather conditions and still last a lifetime, and there is no tougher environment than the Antarctic Peninsula to put this to the test.

Port Lockroy is one of Antarctica’s most historic locations and a highlight of any voyage to the frozen continent.  It was originally set up in 1944 as part of a secret Naval mission during WWII code named Operation Tabarin. The base consisting of a large building ‘Bransfield House’ and a ‘Nissen hut’, was created and manned to provide Britain with a presence in Antarctica and saw the start of scientific research into climatic conditions. JELD-WEN (Formerly Boulton and Paul) created the prefabricated building ‘Bransfield House’ including the windows which was flat packed and assembled on site by the Royal Navy. This served as the main living area for the men at that time. 

When the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) took over the management of the buildings, they chose JELD-WEN’s high performance triple glazed timber windows as part of the restoration of the historic Nissen hut. The UKAHT also requested support in providing new triple glazed timber windows to match the originals for “Bransfield House”, the main building which now acts as the living museum and ‘Penguin post office’.

Port Lockroy

Part of the reason for choosing timber was because it is durable and a natural insulator, all of which enables it to withstand the extreme weather conditions of the Antarctic. Protecting the environment was also a key concern and timber was chosen because of its natural non-polluting characteristics. Antarctica is the most unpolluted, unspoilt landscape on earth and using a natural sustainable product such as timber is all part of keeping it that way.

The Nissen hut was originally built as a storehouse and emergency refuge and was fully rebuilt in 2010 to the same specifications, but with modern insulation. The JELD-WEN products installed include two external timber doorsets, 35mm internal fire doorsets and triple glazed windows. The staff now use the hut as their living quarters because of its thermal performance and privacy.  Its innovative adaptation won an award from the British Institute of Structural Engineers.

Lisa Avis, UK Operations and Communications Co-ordinator has stayed in the hut comments “The Nissen hut is incredibly warm and cosy.  During my stay, at which point there were five of us living in the hut, the one additional heat source – a heater in the main lounge – was never turned on as we just didn’t need it!  The windows, which are draft proof, do a fantastic job at keeping out the extreme climate, which when you consider that the wind can be extremely bitter and temperatures below freezing, is an absolute necessity.”

Port Lockroy receives 18,000 visitors each season. They visit the museum, purchase souvenirs and postcards from the Post Office and shop and come to see the large colony of 2,000 Gentoo penguins which also inhabit the island. Over 70,000 postcards are sent every year from the penguin post office to over 100 countries around the world.

To find out more about JELD-WEN’s triple glazed timber windows explore our range here.