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Felce and Guy specifies bricks from Vandersanden for The Spa at South Lodge

Felce and Guy specifies bricks from Vandersanden for The Spa at South Lodge

Vandersanden Brick

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.
Pontypridd riverside scheme showcases Rockfon to the power of three

Pontypridd riverside scheme showcases Rockfon to the power of three

Rockfon

Forming an important part of a £200m redevelopment, the flagship three building Llys Cadwyn (Chain Court) mixed-use riverside development encompasses office and retail units alongside a state-of-the-art library, café, leisure fitness and community facilities in the heart of Pontypridd. Owner client, Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, awarded the design of this eye-catching project to Darnton B3 Architects, who have worked with Willmott Dixon since 2018, to bring the innovative, ambitious £38m scheme to fruition. Around 9500m2 of Rockfon acoustic ceiling and wall systems are installed throughout the three building scheme to add a wow factor and help create healthy interiors where people can work, visit, study, socialise and relax. Architecture that looks and feels good The facades of two of the buildings are glazed, with those facing the riverside designed with sun-deflecting vertical fins in a mix of warm primary colours from yellow through to orange and red – adding a positive, contemporary accent. The third building sits in contrast to the others with its organic, aardvark curved outer shell clad completely in shimmering zinc tiles, reminiscent of the futuristic Bullring in Birmingham and the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The twin buildings required high levels of sound absorption due to the predominantly open-plan office interiors on their upper floors. Independent research shows that stress levels are reduced by 27% and focus is increased by 48% by improved acoustics in these environments. The high light reflectance offered by our ceiling systems optimises natural light, aiding wellbeing and helping provide the best working conditions whilst minimising energy usage and costs. Ensuring the desired Shhh In the Library, sound control was an obvious specification requirement. Happily, Rockfon ranges - including Rockfon® Universal™ Baffles - offer acoustic performance which deliver the desired Shh. Elsewhere in the café, gym and community spaces, our products are tough enough to deal with the impact of heavy use. Darnton B3 Project Architect, Martin Hurley, “I met with our client to discuss the acoustics in a large atria which sits between the children’s, and general reference libraries. We agreed to create a feature art wall using a selection of colours influenced by the council’s own corporate identity. The completed design works really well, delivering the visual impact and sound control we desired. Rockfon Eclipse® wall panels were used to create the stylish art wall, featuring dark greys, purples, turquoise, teal, lime and orange which were NCS-matched. Eclipse can be specified in a variety of shaped formats with a clean minimalistic A-edge and unlimited custom colour matching. Quick and easy to install, the fixing kit allows panels to be set at varying distances from the wall to enhance creative possibilities. Delivering the dream Tonypandy-based M&P Group, were responsible for the installation. The firm’s Andrew Pearce commented, “Co-ordinating the process of installation across three buildings within a tight, riverside, city-centre site presented particular challenges. It was vital the supply line remained on schedule, with deliveries on-time and in good order – something the Rockfon team helped ensure. In fact, the project came together well and everyone is very pleased with the completed job.” Nevill Long Area Sales Manager, Mike Parkin, “This was a technically and aesthetically interesting project to be involved with. It was a pleasure to work with Rockfon to ensure the correct materials were delivered on time and in full.” Great performance and fabulous looks Rockfon Specification Manager Rowan Green, “It was really beneficial to be part of the design specification process for this landmark build from an early stage. A guiding requirement was to achieve the least visible grid, using a selection of Rockfon ranges to create aesthetically pleasing results with high levels of sound absorption. In addition to the Eclipse feature wall, versatile, technologically advanced Rockfon Blanka® was installed throughout the three buildings, with specialised Blanka Bas utilised in meeting rooms to promote speech intelligibility. Rockfon® Koral™ was used exclusively within washrooms and lobbies.” The Rockfon Blanka range offers a wide choice of alternatives for installation and usage. All embody Class A sound absorption (aw 1.00), 87% light reflection and >99% light diffusion and room to room sound Insulation >26dB. Blanka’s easy clean, anti-static surface prolongs product life and is non-directional, which speeds up installation, saving time and money. Within the futuristic building, an arrangement of elegant, circular, Rockfon Eclipse islands, in white, are hung from ceiling wires, creating the illusion they are floating in mid-air. In common with other Rockfon ranges, Rockfon Koral offers excellent sound absorption and the highest fire safety characteristics. It is easy to clean with a vacuum or a damp cloth and is available in semi-concealed and visible grid options.
Crossrail contractor chooses Bilco Ladder Up Safety Post

Crossrail contractor chooses Bilco Ladder Up Safety Post

Bilco UK

With the new Elizabeth line set to deliver a 10% increase in rail capacity across central London, the project will provide a high frequency service that reduces journey times and creates new travel opportunities by linking 41 stations across 100 kilometres. As part of the landmark construction project, over 42 kilometres of new tunnels, 50 kilometres of new track and 10 new stations are being developed in conjunction with major upgrades to the existing infrastructure. Throughout the construction stages of the central section, which spans from Westbourne Park to Plumstead and Pudding Mill Lane, over 350 of Bilco UK’s innovative aluminium Ladder Up® Safety Posts have been specified by Crossrail’s systemwide contractor Alstom TSO Costain Joint Venture (ATC Systemwide) to provide safe and secure access. Weighing just seven kilograms due to the milled aluminium construction, the resilient Ladder Up® Safety Posts will provide engineers with unobstructed access to the walkways when conducting essential maintenance throughout the tunnels, once the line is operational. Once fully open, the Elizabeth line will provide an additional 1.5 million people with access to central London within 45 minutes, covering Reading and Heathrow in the West, right through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East. The specification process, managed by Construction & Rail Contractors McNealy Brown, focused on the requirement for durable yet functional access solutions that would consistently provide a safe and direct step through onto the walkway, without impacting on the surrounding electrical services. The unique and high quality construction of the Ladder Up® Safety Post fulfilled each requirement of the brief. This includes features such as the innovative telescopic post, which mounts permanently to the top two rungs of any fixed ladder to provide a secure handhold that enables the user to enter or exit the opening in an upright and balanced position. Clive Burfoot, Contract Manager at McNealy Brown, said: "When we first began researching potential access solutions for the Crossrail project’s central section, it became clear quite quickly that the Bilco UK Ladder Up® Safety Post was the only product available on the UK market that would fulfil our extensive list of requirements." “The telescopic extension was one of the main benefits that secured its specification for this project, as it enables the Ladder Up® safety post to be both retracted and extended, a key function that wasn’t available with any other access solution.” Each ladder has been installed with two Ladder Up® Safety Posts, which are located on either side of the ladder to provide the direct step through onto the walkway for increased safety and efficiency. The installation process, which has been managed by ATC Systemwide, will provide secure access throughout all essential areas of the central section, including at either end of every station and at additional strategic locations. Vimesshen Ravindran, Senior Mechanical Engineer at ATC Systemwide, said: “The lightweight construction of the Ladder Up® Safety Posts ensured the installation process was quick and easy, resulting in no unforeseen issues on site. When the system retracts, the high quality spring-balance and convenient lever release provides a controlled means of lowering into its retracted position. This delivers enhanced ease of operation, ensuring long term suitability and usability for the engineers when undertaking future maintenance tasks. “The Ladder Up® Safety Posts will play an essential role in ensuring the central section of the Elizabeth line continues to run at the highest standard, so it was crucial we specified access solutions that would facilitate the continued maintenance of the line, safely and efficiently.” The telescopic tubular section automatically locks when fully extended, while the adjustable mounting hardware accommodates any ladder rung size or spacing. The corrosion resistant construction can also withstand the demanding environment of the London underground system, ensuring its successful operation for years to come. Darren Waters, Managing Director of Bilco UK, said: “We are extremely proud to have been involved in the UK’s high profile Crossrail infrastructure project and have worked closely with McNealy Brown and ATC Systemwide throughout every stage of the specification and installation stages. “This has ensured our unique Ladder Up® Safety Posts have fulfilled each individual requirement of the central section of the Elizabeth line, from security and ease of usability, right through to long term durability. We look forward to seeing the completion of the Crossrail project as our innovative access solutions play a vital role in ensuring its safe and successful operation.” Aiming to make travelling throughout the capital easier, quicker and less crowded for passengers, the Elizabeth line will not only reduce the strain on London’s transport network but transform the way passengers experience and interact with the city and its suburbs.

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