Change Of Use Breathes New Life Into Disused Office Buildings

Cities have to constantly change and adapt to survive and no more so than the commercial centres where many fine buildings from past ages have become redundant. Fortunately, architects and property owners with vision are capitalising on this, increasingly finding new and innovative ways to keep our building heritage in active service. Many are converted to residential use, restaurants, clubs, galleries and of course Hotels, thereby maintaining the vibrancy that a city needs.


A consequence of a vibrant neighbourhood is noise and Selectaglaze, the UK’s leading specialist in secondary glazing systems has recently been involved with two Central London boutique hotel developments, The Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell and Hotel Indigo in the Minories.


Originally a warehouse and once the home of the football pools company of the same name, the five-storey 59-room boutique Zetter Hotel opened to critical acclaim, being voted one of the world’s ‘50 coolest hotels’ by industry bible Conde Nast Traveller – and its restaurant has recently been voted the third best in the UK. The owners of the Zetter Hotel strongly believe that the health and happiness of future generations is dependent on a commitment to sustainable ways of living and working. They aim to reduce energy consumption and become carbon neutral and to work with suppliers that share their sustainability commitment. To this end the Hotel collects fresh water via its own borehole beneath the building; has installed an energy loop system capable of swapping energy around to heat rooms and cool fridges and natural light and ventilation is provided by The Zetter’s cleverly designed central semi-elliptical atrium.  The hotel had retained the building’s original sash windows and installed bi-folding shutters to the room side of the bedrooms but this combination did not provide the required level of noise insulation. To remedy this, Selectaglaze provided sliding secondary units fitted flush to the window openings, thus allowing easy access to the shutters and external windows. This has not only produced exceptionally quiet rooms but will help considerably in reducing energy consumption.


Hotel Indigo located in The Minories, on the edge of the Square Mile within the capital’s main financial district, is a four star hotel, part of the word-wide InterContinental Hotels Group. The Indigo brand launched in America in 2004 and arrived in the UK four years later. The new hotel in The Minories is the latest in what is now a 38 strong world-wide chain. Each Hotel Indigo is unique and designed to reflect the local culture, character and geography of the surrounding area.


Occupying what was formerly an office building and bank, conversion to a top class boutique hotel and restaurant was a major architectural and interior design undertaking. As part of the conversion it was decided to replace the windows with double glazed frames but standard double glazing does not provide the levels of sound insulation needed by the guests. The solution was to install secondary glazing, thus creating triple-glazing which offered noise insulation in excess of 45dB and further improved the energy performance of the window, reducing heating costs and improving sustainability.

The secondary windows were made bespoke to ensure the best fit and included horizontal sliding, vertical sliding and hinged casements all finished in a grey powder paint to blend with the new external windows.


Selectaglaze’s secondary windows are designed to maintain the character of the property and are accepted by all Heritage bodies. Frames have a permanent, easily maintained finish usually white but a wide choice of colour options together with a selection of timber-grained finishes are available to suit almost any décor. The ability to shape and curve frames and discrete installation ensures sympathetic treatment.


Refurbishments are often fast track projects requiring close cooperation between client, contractor, specialists and the professional team. Selectaglaze has wide experience of working in buildings up to Grade 1 listed and offers a technical advisory service and specification advice to ensure correct interface with other trades. Programmes are particularly important and proactive site surveys linked to a modern production facility working on Lean principles ensures that projects are delivered on time and installation undertaken with minimal disruption, which is particularly important when working within Hotels.

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