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Logistics

The best example of logistic know-how is our role in the completion of the Great West Window at St. George’s Cathedral jump – Cape Town.

The window, designed by the great French artist Gabriel Loire in 1982, was only completed in 2001. In the meantime Gabriel Loire passed away and Jacques, his son, was now at the helm of Ateliers Loire. An achieved master glazier and international artist in his own right, Jacques Loire, in consultation with the Cathedral, re-worked the sketches for two side lancets. Before proceeding with the full-scale cartoon and the manufacture of the panels, we were approached to assist. Templates were needed and we took them battling against the wind. An architectural plan for the supporting metal structure was also needed and we designed it to the smallest glazing detail. The communication with Jacques Loire, phone and lots of faxes, was flawless. Jan Bitenco speaks French!

While Ateliers Loire were doing the panels, we were dealing with Huletts Aluminium. This resulted in them offering to supply the Cathedral with top quality, custom made, marine grade aluminium at cost. Then we had to cut 80 extrusions, 3 m long each, into sections. We installed the support structure with cross sections anchored in the stone wall. Then we had to find a reliable company for the scaffolding. Cape Formworks offered to supply and install scaffolds, both inside and outside the Cathedral, at no charge. And when the panels arrived in Cape Town harbour, we had to deal with the customs people who wanted to put an import tax!

Once delivered at the Cathedral, the panels were unpacked and laid on the floor of the Link according to a diagram prepared in advance. To lift the large and heavy panels onto the roof of the Link, where the outside scaffolds were set up, we had to use a contraption and a special metal frame.

We worked heroically, braving the stormy Cape winter and finished in two weeks, just in time for the Cathedral’s Centenary.

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