The Orchard Hotel is a visually stunning, 200-bed, mid-market hotel designed by RHWL Architects to complement the adjacent East Midlands Conference Centre at the University of Nottingham.
Set within an orchard, the hotel has been designed to nestle into the hillside of the campus, allowing the surrounding landscape to flow over and around the building. This effect has been achieved through the creation of a dramatic undulating timber canopy over the central atrium that mirrors the setting’s sloping contours. The sophisticated structure comprises large, curved glulam beams of Siberian Larch - chosen for its natural durability and flexibility – connected with hundreds of angled brise-soleil that offer a natural sun-shade.
As well as inspiring the hotel’s external façade, the use of wood runs throughout building’s interior. The canopy is anchored inside by exposed ‘tree-trunk’ columns. An undulating glulam raft in the same style as the external canopy oversails the hotel’s bar, bringing unity between the outside and interior.
Elsewhere, bespoke reception pods have been hand-crafted from English Oak, while veneered and solid oak joinery feature extensively throughout, including booth seating areas, restaurant partitions and library fixtures. European Oak engineered hardwood flooring has been laid in all communal areas and executive guest bedrooms. Finally, high-quality British manufactured timber furniture features everywhere from armchairs in the reception area to oak-framed dining chairs in the restaurant.
Wood was not only selected for its aesthetic qualities but was also viewed as a key contributor to the building’s environmental performance. The external walls use SIP panels to achieve an outstanding U-value of 0.15W/mÂ²K and very low air permeability, to drive down heating requirements. As a result the thermal transmittance of the building fabric exceeds current standards and the project has been deemed BREEAM Excellent.