HSBC, Southport

Project: HSBC, Southport

Housing its Southport branch in an historic Victorian building has certainly put HSBC head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to the banking experience, but it is a sense of grandeur that does not come without its price. Future Vision looks at the challenges of renovating the interior of a grade two listed building and how Tenon Vitrage effortlessly merged aesthetic form with practical function.

HSBC’s Southport branch is housed in a truly beautiful grade two listed Victorian building. Formerly Preston Bank, the building is an iconic landmark in the centre of Southport – the building’s exterior adorned with a statue of Poseidon, the interior dominated by majestic high ceilings and elaborate stonework.

But while the overall building cannot fail to impress with its Victorian style and architectural grandeur, as a functioning working environment it is a challenging location to maintain. When HSBC decided to renovate the interior of the bank to create four private meeting rooms within the main area of the branch, architects EC Harris LLP were faced with a number of issues. Not only did HSBC not want to hinder the natural appeal of the building’s interior, the ways in which private rooms could be constructed were severely restricted by the overall height of the main banking hall.

EC Harris’s quantity surveyor Oli Barrow, who led the project, commissioned Fourway Engineering to find a solution to the problem. According to Fourway’s Adam Nolan, they knew straight away that the first step was to consult a partitioning expert.

“We initially discussed our requirements with CPD’s West Bromwich branch and explained the challenge that faced us,” said Nolan. “This soon led us to engage with Dave Sheppard, CPD’s glass and glazing specialist, who immediately understood the issues and set about the task of designing a viable working solution.

“With no top fixings possible, clearly a freestanding option was the only way forward. Dave was soon on site and with his detailed survey the project soon started to take shape,” Nolan explained.

Dave recommended CPD’s flagship Tenon Vitrage single glazed partitioning system – the only fully self-supporting glass partition product that can be independently secured to the floor. The freestanding glass panels maximised light and preserved the atmosphere and grandeur of the building, whilst ensuring that the meeting rooms were set away from the main banking hall to retain the required degree of privacy and practicality.

The dividing walls, which incorporate aluminium frames to which doors could be attached, allowed each meeting room to be independently secured, with frosted manifestation to deliver the required discreet, semi-enclosed meeting areas.

Oli Barrow said: “Tenon Vitrage was perfect for this project – it solved a seemingly insurmountable challenge and gave the branch a contemporary twist while retaining the heritage and feeling of the existing building.”

Fourway’s Adam Nolan asserts that it was not only the product, but the ease by which it was installed that made the project such a success.

“One of the key requirements was that the bank had to remain fully operational during business hours,” explained Nolan, “which meant that the delivery of the solution had to be incredibly efficient.

CPD planned staged deliveries to site to help us achieve a more efficient, more predictable build programme – not only did this help us to deliver the project on time and on budget, it optimised the performance of our own team as they knew exactly what needed to be done and when.

“The finished article looks sleek,” concludes Nolan, “and the customer is delighted with the result.”

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