Pilkington Building Products

Modern glazing brings new life to Victorian gatehouse as student hub

Students at Royal Holloway University of London will now find a brand new, architect-designed private accommodation and social hub located in Egham, Surrey.

The privately-owned facility, called Hox Haus, is in an extended and re-modelled Grade II-listed Victorian gymnasium located a short bus-ride away from Royal Holloway, University of London.

The project blends its original Victorian brickwork with two new glazed 'light box' additions which will provide students with light-filled spaces in which to work, socialise and relax.

Michael Metcalfe, national sales manager - UK processing, at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, said: “There is a good body of research evidence building that suggests there is a strong relationship between natural light in working and studying spaces and the wellbeing of those using the space.

“It has been shown to promote better sleep, increased physical activity and increased productivity, all conducive to more effective study.”

In order to maximise the benefits that the glazing delivers to students using the facility, a structurally-glazed curtain-wall system from manufacturer Raico was selected for the project.

The system ensures that, externally, only a narrow silicone joint remains visible between each pane of glass, maximising sight-lines in and out of the building while minimising obstructions to natural light entering.

A clever approach to climate control

The glass used throughout features the high-performance Pilkington Suncool™ 66/33 solar-control coating. This means that just 33 per cent of the sun’s energy can pass through, significantly reducing the heating effect on the interior, while 66 per cent of light is allowed in, maintaining excellent brightness and views.

Further solar control is provided by the shading created by anodised metal fins that project from the glazed wall in key areas, a feature that also adds a distinctive contemporary aesthetic to the design.

Michael Metcalfe continued: “In any building that has large areas of glass, there will always be a risk of excessive heat build-up, which can result in either an uncomfortable environment for occupants or high running costs and poor environmental performance if high levels of air-conditioning are used.

“Our solar-control coatings are engineered to minimise this effect, making it easier to maintain an ideal temperature all year round without compromising on the advantages large areas of glazing bring to a building.”

David Holt, Founder of architects and designers 74 said: “We wanted to create a light-filled and largely transparent overall space that brings the outside in, references the building’s semi-rural location and offers a warm, comfortable and relaxing home-from-home for students. The interior feel was to be like a country retreat or clubhouse-with-a-twist.

“Fostering social interaction was at the heart of the design, and the glazed elements play a key role in that. We wanted all of the spaces, even those intended for individual study – to feel connected.”

Paul Williams, managing director at Vitrine Systems, said: “The combination of Pilkington solar-control glazing and the state-of-the-art Raico structural glazing units means students will get maximum benefit from working in a bright and airy space, whilst having beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

“The high quality off the materials also gives the building a ‘premium’ feel which will help fill students with a sense of pride in their surroundings and help attract the most talented individuals to apply to study at the college.”

Hox Haus opens its doors to students for the 2019-2020 academic year. It features IT-equipped workspaces for individual or group study as well as a downtime space with TV and games lounges, tea points, vending machines and built-in bar points to allow pop-up catering for social events.

Project: Hox Haus, Royal Holloway University of London
Architects and Interior Designers: 74
Glazing Installer: Vitrine Systems

Pilkington Building Products

NSG Group, the manufacturer of Pilkington glass in the UK, manufactures a wide range of float, coated, rolled, laminated and toughened glass products as well as its own range of high-performance insulating glass units. Glass is distributed direct to customers, either as stock or as bespoke processed products to meet their needs, either direct from St Helens or through its network of branches countrywide.

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