New hotel and conference center designed for the University of Birmingham

 In Design Trends, Education, Natural Light

Garth house and Hornton Grange refurbishment into boutique hotel and conference for midlands university. 

The University of Birmingham carried out a prestigious redevelopment to create a major regeneration of the Edgbaston campus. The project included plans to demolish two unused buildings, part-demolish, refurbish, and extend Hornton Grange and renovate the Grade II listed Garth House. Architects Glancy Nicholls were appointed to design the refurbishment of Garth house and Horton grange as part of a wider scheme. 

Garth House is a Grade II listed building constructed in 1900 and the building played an iconic part in the prestigious Edgbaston Park Hotel & Conference Centre development. Garth House is historically one of the only residential dwellings designed by British architect and alumni of Birmingham University, William Bidlake.  

The basis of the design revolved around the brief to restore and enhance the character of the original listed building while honouring the surrounding Edgbaston Conservation Area. The reconstruction of Garth house includes a grand entrance hall and three ground floor conference rooms, as well as 7 luxury hotel rooms which all contribute to the scheme.

In contrast to Garth house, Horton Grange was built slightly later in 1928. The design for this building varied compared to the design and enhancement of Garth House; the main difference between the originally built dwellings is Horton Grange is not a listed building despite being of similar character.  

Over time, Horton Grange was subjected to various modernisations and extensions, including the 2018 refurbishment and extension and the continued development of the complex, which gave each building its own identity connected to its original use and time.  

IQ Projects worked alongside the University of Birmingham and Harrabin Construction to design appropriate glazing solutions for the newly refurbished building plans. An impressive rear extension was designed to accentuate the function of Horton Grange, connected to the original building through a subtle glass link that allows the new elevation to sit comfortably within the surrounding landscape. Structural glazing was used to create the glass link for the university in Birmingham, achieving the most subtle and minimal design.  

A large configuration of intermittent fixed and opening rooflights span over 13 meters of the new extension, the specialist automated rooflights sit within a modern vaulted ceiling with a deep upstand to create a specific natural light path. The rooflights are comprised of 10 panes, alternating between automated venting rooflights and fixed structural glass rooflights. The automated venting rooflights were specified to ensure adequate airflow within the large function space, opening to a span of 300mm. 

To create efficient glazing solutions, triple glazing was specified for the 13-meter long rooflight configuration, to achieve enhanced thermal performance and ensure the building surpasses any performance requirements for many years to come.  

Each of the rooflights were specified with solar control glass, which is imperative in commercial spaces to reduce the risk of the space overheating and creating an uncomfortable environment. Solar control glass reflects the heat from the sun back outside and simultaneously bounces the internal heat back inside. This both prevents heat loss and reduces solar gain, saving on heating and cooling costs in the long run.  

To discuss bespoke glazing solutions for your next educational building project, contact the team at IQ today. 

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Chloe Thompson

After completing her undergrad degree in Interior design, Chloe decided to join the architectural glazing industry and now works on social media strategies, writes content and manages the day to day marketing for IQ's commercial division.
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