Felce and Guy specifies bricks from Vandersanden for The Spa at South Lodge
The Spa at South Lodge, in the heart of the West Sussex countryside, is the picture-perfect, luxury destination for those seeking ultimate relaxation in complete comfort, far away from the pressures and strains of modern life.
Designed by Hove-based architectural firm, Felce and Guy, this prestigious 44,000 sq. ft building sits harmoniously in its beautiful, natural setting with external facing bricks from Vandersanden selected to provide regular form, nuanced colours and natural texture for the project.
Located in Lower Beeding, near Horsham, The Spa at South Lodge is a purpose-built spa within the grounds of an award winning 5-star hotel. It features a state-of-the-art gym and spin studio, indoor pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool and wild swimming pool, a thermal suite and treatment rooms for members, hotel residents and spa day guests. In addition, The Spa at South Lodge includes the Ridgeview Beauty Bar and Botanica, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant.
Felce and Guy were commissioned to provide a full architectural design, then appointed as lead consultant and contract administrator to oversee the build carried out by main contractor, Beard Construction. The firm’s design balances the specific needs of the hotel and The Spa at South Lodge’s facilities with a sensitivity to the context of the countryside setting and close proximity to the main hotel.
The resultant architecture sympathetically responds to these surroundings with the building deep-set into the landscape, minimising its scale, yet taking full advantage of the extensive views available to guests over the South Downs. As the landscape falls away, leading to natural water forms, so too does the new building with external terracing leading out to a vitality pool and down to an external swim pond.
After reviewing and testing different samples in advance, Felce and Guy selected Vandersanden’s Lithium brick in a 50mm size for the project. This attractive, hand-formed facing brick comprises a sanded-coated and grained structure in a muted base grey colour with accompanying shades of buff and black to match the stonework colours of the main building at South Lodge Hotel.
Over 100,000 bricks were sourced and supplied for the project by specialist brick distributor, N R Taylor of Lingfield, with the thinness of the brick helping to further reduce the visual scale of the Spa building. The horizontal lines of the brickwork act as a softening counterpoint to the vertical natural green oak cladding and large glass panelling that also feature as key elements in The Spa at South Lodge design. Elsewhere, the Lithium brick has been used in the copings, landscaping and dividing walls which create external contours and help to separate the terraces outside of the building.
“The Vandersanden brick works with the other materials in the design to present a very organic aesthetic for The Spa at South Lodge,” says John Chapman of Felce and Guy. “It perfectly complements both the dark sandstone used in the original hotel and its mix of greys and brown as well as the natural surroundings. The straight, clean-lines and regular shape of the Vandersanden brick, together with the raked joint we’ve used, has helped emphasise the horizontality of the building and works especially well with the textured finish of the timber panels. As a practice, we set very high expectations which the Vandersanden bricks have undoubtedly satisfied.”
In addition to a curving, meadow-grass roof, which helps to attenuate rainwater flow, the Spa at South Lodge benefits from other sustainable technologies and finishes. A biomass boiler system has been installed, and all drainage is contained on site, using reed bed technology. The existing ponds within the hotel grounds have been modified and extended to benefit the local ecology.
Vandersanden itself is building a sustainable future for its business, having already invested in renewable solar and wind energy technologies at its major European production plants and committed to a pathway which will see the manufacture of CO2-neutral bricks by 2050.
Underlining the significance of the project to the hotel and its management, every member of staff laid one brick as part of their contribution to The Spa at South Lodge. The project was completed in the Summer of 2019.