The phased refurbishment of both private rooms and the elegant public spaces of a Manchester hotel has been successfully completed with a member of the Steel Window Association, The Cotswold Casements Company, playing a pivotal role in the supply and installation of screens and doors.
Located near the centre of the city, The Palace Hotel has now been renamed The Principal Manchester following a £20m refurbishment and redevelopment with Michaelis Boyd Associates the architectural practice responsible for leading the design work.
As the specialist steel window package contractor for the project, Moreton-in-Marsh-based, Cotswold Casements, began by tackling the restaurant and winter garden where highly experienced operatives installed large screens as well as double and single doors to divide what was once the trading hall of a major insurance company. Then, in the bedrooms, they installed single doors which link into the en-suite bathrooms.
The winter garden is a major feature of the hotel’s entertainment spaces, sitting alongside The Refuge bar and restaurant which occupy the corner of the building on Oxford Road and Whitworth Street West. In the words of the hotel’s management, “The winter garden is housed inside a glass atrium cascading with natural sunlight. In contrast to the relaxed restaurant, the airy space will retain a sense of elegance as it plays host to afternoon teas.”
The Senior Architect on the project for Michaelis Boyd, Luke Rowett, commented: “The doors in the majority of the bedrooms, which Cotswold Casements has supplied, were chosen primarily to allow more play of light between the two spaces. The glazed steel framed doors are more permeable and interesting than a solid door while the obscure glazing still provides privacy.
“The major work though involving Cotswold Casements – who we have used on other projects in the past – involved the food and beverages area which is an enormous space of some 10,000 square feet, centred on the old trading hall. The initial thought was on how to make it feel there are specific purposes to different parts. We didn’t want to do this with solid walls or by compartmentalising it because the essence to the old trading hall was to keep the scale and as many original features as possible as well as the view through. Therefore, we used the steel framed screens to create glazed walls which were not full height – so that people can see through the space and walk between them.
“This has created five distinct spaces; the restaurant at the rear; the bar which you enter from the street outside; the winter garden which is located centrally beneath a very large roof light – having trees like an orangery; then the den which can be rented for private functions. Finally, there is a long narrow “street” which offers space for people to sit and work on their laptops or make a phone call. Importantly, what the glazing has allowed us to do is maintain views through this space and a feeling of openness which respects the history of the Refuge Insurance Company building.”
For the winter garden Cotswold Casements produced a total of 57 fixed screens together with three pairs of double doors and two single doors all fabricated using the classic W20 steel sections, finished in RAL 9004 Matt and glazed with 4mm clear toughened safety glass. Some of the screens featured ‘satin nova’ obscure glass to offer privacy.
Steel framed windows and screens are ideally suited to the creation and refurbishment of spaces like winter gardens, as the slim sight-lines enhance the feeling of openness and maximise daylight transmission. Steel frames also offer excellent strength in terms of spanning capability and resistance to forced entry.
The bathroom doors within the 20 guest suites were also produced using W20 steel sections in the same polyester powder coat finish, but they were glazed with 4 mm thick Reeded toughened glass.
For further information on the Steel Window Association, please visit www.steel-window-association.co.uk or call 020 8543 2841.
Photo: by Luke White