Art space gets a make-over

The revamped outside of 12 Claremont
The revamped outside of 12 Claremont

A SHARED art space has been given a new look thanks to a project to install eco-friendly outside insulation.

Nestled under the wing of Hastings Library, 12 Claremont was built in the 1870s by subscription from the congregation of Trinity Church. Its original life was as a YMCA, intended to house young working men somewhere other than in public houses.

Now though, following an extensive refit in 2005, the building acts as a community hub – a shared space housing offices, artists’ studios, exhibition spaces and a street level cafe.

Owner Caroline le Breton spent an eventual 18 months planning the recent eco refurbishment of the building. She worked with a sustainable technology consultant hired using a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Program.

Speaking to the Observer this week, Ms le Breton said the project’s success was down to extensive research and hard work.

“We had to abandon some of the sustainable technologies (such as a wood-pellet boiler and solar panels), due to the difficulty of installing them in such an old building,” she said. “This proved to be much more expensive and disruptive than we originally thought.”

Hard work perhaps but the end result is a bright, modern expanse of cedar cladding, which hides insulation made from recycled glass bottles and wool.

And, by applying the 21-metre insulation over the outside of the wall, the project has also preserved the interior of the building as well as transforming its energy efficiency.

As a way of passing on the eco-friendly message, Ms le Breton recently spoke to a host of locals and businessmen about the benefits the scheme had generated.

The event was organised by Energise Hastings and anyone who wants to find out more about the sort of grants available to residents or firms locally should call 01424 451484 or email mail@energisehastings.co.uk.