Warwick Street, Royal Leamington Spa
Luxury homes aid Georgian conservation in royal town
A dilapidated department store in the centre of Royal Leamington Spa has been transformed to create a block of 26 luxury apartments and retail space
Developer Tag Urban Properties enlisted the help of London-based architects TateHindle to design The Hide to reflect the history of the town.
The front elevation of the building reinstates a Georgian terrace using the same architectural characteristics as the adjacent building, but as it wraps around the corner it becomes more contemporary. Although the apartments have very modern interiors, there has been a very sensitive approach to the external design.
The residential element of the scheme includes a range of one, two and three-bedroom apartments and duplex penthouses. The homes have ‘upside down’ living where bedrooms are below the open-plan living areas which look out onto private terraces with panoramic views across the town. A communal courtyard provides a suntrap for residents to share at first floor level.
The location of the building meant that Harish Ratna, director at TateHindle, and his design team needed to address two potential issues: working within the space constraints and designing a façade in keeping within a conservation area.
“Traditionally masonry and a silicone render would usually be used for this type of project, but as we couldn’t go outside the boundary, we used a steel frame system with a narrower wall paired with an external wall insulation (EWI) system to maximise the internal space and speed up the whole process,” explains Harish
“This is a Georgian conservation area, and we consider ourselves as custodians of a public area and see it as our duty, not just for the client to be proud of the building, but to make sure it stands the test of time.”
As part of this, it was critical that the cornices – the decorative moulding that crowns a building – integrated with the listed building and were the correct shade of white. Architectural moulding specialist Build-Lite worked with TateHindle to design a cornice that was in keeping with the surroundings and would also help to keep the building’s white render looking crisp for longer.
“Normally you would have a lead and stone capping, but we designed a cornice, used at four levels, that should help to lower the amount of external maintenance needed,” explains Harish. “The cornice has the optimal angle to ensure rain will run off, away from the wall, rather than run down the wall which can cause staining and therefore need more regular cleaning to keep that crisp white finish.”
The leading contractor on the project, HC Linings, was responsible for the steel frame, render, internal partitions, ceilings and joinery on the scheme, but enlisted the help of Central Facades to install Saint-Gobain Weber’s webertherm XM EWI system.
It was important that the installation of the cornice didn’t compromise the performance of the EWI system so Build-Lite and Weber liaised closely to ensure the two products could work safely together.
Nicola Burbury-Walters, National Account Manager at Saint-Gobain Weber, said: “In new build schemes, insulating on the external walls can be combined with a simple and reliable single skin construction to deliver both a cost-effective and efficient build programme and attractive façade. It also allows developers to address the ever-increasing thermal requirements of the building regulations by minimising heat loss and reducing CO2 emissions.”
Weber provided technical support for the U-value and condensation risk calculation and pull-out tests were undertaken to ensure that the correct system was specified. Once the full specification was finalised, Weber talked the team through the system and advised on fixing patterns and wind loading calculations.
Target U-values achieved: 0.15W/m2K in the steel frame section and 0.18W/m2K in the concrete section
James Wood, an
“Central Facades received training through our technical academy so that they had a good knowledge of our systems. It’s great to see such good quality work and to be assured they understood that our systems must be used in the correct way to meet all the necessary standards. They showed diligence to quality and specification, and we had a great spirit of openness throughout the project.”
Robert Harriman, managing director of HC Linings, explained that the support from Weber was important to the success of the complex project.
“The building required a high thermal rating and it had to reach all the necessary fire standards. We needed an EWI system with a warranty that could be mechanically applied to the steel frame of the building so as not to compromise the fire wrap system and Weber offered us a comprehensive solution.”
To make the project more efficient, weberend LAC rapid, a polymer-modified adhesive render coat was specified to reduce time and remove the need to prime the substrate prior to finishing the whole building in webersil TF, a silicone enhanced textured decorative finish in Silver Pearl.
The Hide was completed in September 2021 and won a Leamington Society Award 2021. The Society presents the awards to projects that promote high standards in architecture and the preservation of the town’s historic features.