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Nottingham University-funded eco-hotel The Orchard by RHWL opens on campus


A new eco-friendly hotel, ‘The Orchard’, has opened for business on The University of Nottingham’s award-winning main campus. The £20 million hotel, funded entirely by the University, has been completed by BAM Construction on a design and build contract to a winning design by RHWL Architects.

Designed to complement the University-owned De Vere Venues East Midlands Conference Centre next door, it provides top class accommodation on University Park with extensive facilities including 220 bedrooms, meeting rooms, a roof garden, brasserie and gym, with interiors designed by Graven Images.

A dramatic, undulating timber canopy oversails a central atrium reception and lobby which is flooded with natural daylight from the full height glazing. The ripple of the structure reflects the contours of its hillside setting while the use of timber reflects the mature trees which surround it.

The 9,300 sq m hotel has been built and designed to maximise energy efficiency and minimise carbon emissions, with a high performance building envelope, green roof, photovoltaic panels, ground source heat pumps, smart building management, and energy-efficient lighting, heating and ventilation systems. The timber canopy has been designed with angled brise soleil to mitigate solar heat gain through the 155 sq m structural glass roof light. It is on track to receive a BREEAM Excellent rating which recognises low-impact buildings that incorporate the best environmental practice.

Pro-Vice Chancellor for Environment and Infrastructure, Professor Karen Cox said: “The Orchard is the latest in a series of award-winning buildings developed on The University of Nottingham’s campuses which have underlined our commitment to sustainable architecture and construction.”

Corrie Jones, Associate at RHWL Architects who designed the OJEU competition-winning Orchard Hotel, said: “The concept for the hotel was inspired by the university’s beautiful parkland setting. Our main aim was to provide a sensitive response, situating the hotel within the surrounding sloping grassland and minimising its impact both physically and environmentally, while still creating a striking building with a strong and defined entrance appropriate to a high profile leisure destination.

“The two bedroom wings are joined by a tall, light and vibrant central atrium. This area provides a link from the adjacent conference centre to the landscaped millennium gardens beyond and allows the natural setting to flow into the space. The palette of materials throughout the building, including regional stone and extensive timber both externally and internally, is also designed to echo the surrounding environment and this filters right down to the detail of each bedroom and public area.”