Ralph Erskine’s Byker Estate, built between 1969 and 1982, is one of the UK’s most important housing developments, a Newcastle landmark and home to around
9,500 residents. In 2006 it was given a grade II* listing. As part of the Byker Community Trust’s £24.5m renovation plan, the full external fabric overhaul included new windows and doors for each of the 400 flats and maisonettes. The replacement of the original single-glazed aluminium windows with modern, energy efficient double-glazing faced the Trust and the local conservation department with a significant challenge. Like so many aspects of
the Byker Estate, the windows are highly individual, incorporating bright colours and a variety of different shapes.
West Port found a cost-effective way of producing high performance double-glazed timber windows that faithfully reproduced the shape, colours and profiles of the original aluminium windows - all fully-finished and glazed at the factory in Maryport. The plan received the green light from Ralph Erskine himself, Newcastle City Council and English Heritage.
The windows are based on an energy-efficient, fully reversible, ‘System X’ Scandinavian
system that allows easy cleaning and delivers typical whole window U-values of 1.4W/m2K,
low embodied CO2, an estimated service life of 60 years, and long maintenance intervals.
West Port had to make the transoms and mullions of the windows bigger to match the originals, and the door grooves to a specific profile.
West Port’s paint mixing machine has around 7,000 colour options, making it easier to match special colours. The water-based micro-porous finish is applied in an electro-static paint plant giving a minimum top coat of 100 microns. The windows are dual colour, bright on the outside, white on the inside.