Midlands & East Anglia

RHWL Architects prepare to graduate with a first class hotel

University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham hotel will offer an exciting new space for conference delegates, university visitors, local businesses and the general public when it is completed later this year.

The £20m eco-friendly hotel is situated next to the East Midlands Conference Centre on University Park and will comprise 200 high quality bedrooms, along with executive rooms and meeting rooms, a restaurant and a gym.

Set amidst a beautiful orchard site, RHWL Architects have designed the building to nestle harmoniously within the surrounding hillside. The five-storey development consists of two bedroom blocks with a central glass atrium that houses the reception, lounge, library and bar. Interestingly, the bedroom floors rise from the regional natural stone bases in horizontal bands, echoing the natural strata seen in the surrounding rock formations.

Built to BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standards, the new hotel boasts several sustainable features. Structural adaptations include green roofs at high and low levels, high performance glazing that maximises natural daylight and a 45 metre timber canopy of curved Glulam beams and timber solar shading fins above the glass roof. In addition, the development has incorporated ground source heat pumps, combined heat and power (CHP) and photovoltaic cells.

Landscaping will include the creation of a stunning garden between the two bedroom blocks.

Corrie Jones, RHWL Architects, said:

“The main idea behind this project was that we wanted to create an experience for visitors. When we first visited the site, we felt that it would be a pity to disrupt such a natural landscape and so we decided that we would make all of our public spaces as open and transparent as possible.

University of Nottingham

“One of our key objectives was to enhance the connection from the EMCC to the beautiful Millennium Gardens and the rest of the university to the east. We wanted visitors to be able to arrive at the front door and walk through the space and into the natural landscape beyond, almost without noticing that they had ever entered the building.”

BAM Construction was appointed as the main contractor in the summer of 2011. Funded by the University of Nottingham, the new hotel will complement the existing facilities provided by the EMCC, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010.

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, said:

“The key aspect of the proposed design of the hotel is how well it nestles into the surrounding orchard hillside landscape and its environmental sustainability credentials.

“Although the hotel will complement the hugely successful EMCC on University Park, it will also generate an income in its own right, providing accommodation for the general public, local businesses and visitors to the University. I am sure that the hotel will prove to be a valuable asset for the future development of the University and further enhance its important contribution to the city.”

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