This project has transformed rather tired student accommodation from the mid 20C into an attractive and flexible centre for meetings and functions in the Oadby Hilltop Conservation Area, in three phases.
The transformation opens up the main space to connect with the surrounding mature landscape, while providing sophisticated audio-visual and presentation facilities and a range of seminar, break-out and social spaces. It revives the best qualities of the original Edwardian house, and links the previously disparate elements of the plan to form a coherent spatial sequence.
The extended and improved main hall space has become a tall rectangular room terminating in a shaded glass eastern elevation which gives views and access onto the beautiful lawns and mature trees of Oadby, with retractable blinds and screens integrated with the window frames and ceilings which are concealed when not in use, and a roof structure of glulam timber beams with steel tension ties.
Seminar rooms have flexible partitions to provide a range of room capacities, and the largest seminar room has fold-back glazing to most of the external wall so that it can be opened up in summer to the landscape to the south. Solar shading on the south side prevents overheating on sunny days.
The house has been reconfigured: the original staircase, fire places and doors have been restored, and the fire strategy has been updated to allow the removal of 20C Georgian wired partitions and provide transparency using large areas of fire-resisting glass.
The project was a finalist at the ProCon Building of the Year awards and the Retrofit awards, and received a Leicester Joint Consultative Committee Craftmanship award.