Hunter Douglas creates perfect harmony at £57m Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

The new £57m Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is a world-class teaching and performance building, providing music students with unequalled facilities in the UK.

The impressive development, which opened in September 2017, is the latest part of Birmingham City University’s £260 million investment in upgrading and creating new campuses.

Hunter Douglas was proud to play its part in the creation of the Conservatoire, which includes state-ofthe-art recording facilities, concert hall, recital hall, organ studio, and 100 rehearsal rooms.

The leading architectural products company was specified to design and manufacture a 281m2 engineered solid wood (ESW) grill ceiling for the spacious foyer.

David Harris, general manager of Hunter Douglas, worked closely with the architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to create the ceiling, which comprised individual slats 26mm wide with a gap of 224mm, making it ideal for a large space. To provide a flat underside finish, even where there was a downstand in the soffit, he advised using slats in both 100mm and 200mm depths.

The slats were finished in American Ash veneer to meet the client’s design brief and were coated with a UV-cured clear lacquer. The suspension system consists of rails and clips, which are easily fixed to the carriers, while the light fittings were independently suspended between the vertical slats.

David said:

“The foyer is a remarkable entrance for this most striking of developments and it gave Hunter Douglas the opportunity to demonstrate why our expertise is trusted the world over on prestigious schemes. “Our grill ceilings are developed to maximise efficiency and minimise installation costs because each slat is individually made to measure, which removes the need for on-site cutting.”

Matthew Morrish, of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said the Hunter Douglas ceiling system is a good visual and colour match for the hardwood joinery used to line the walls, stairs and balustrades to the main entrance foyer:

“The system is accurate, level and true, which is important for viewing up close from the first floor level because any deviations would become apparent and look amateurish,” he said.

He said it specified Hunter Douglas because the profile sizes come in a variety of dimensions, which provides designers with a high degree of choice and flexibility. He also pointed to the company’s excellent technical support and CAD details.