16 Jun Heritage with a modern twist
The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites in central Brisbane, Queensland, showcases the latest contemporary glass and glazing technology alongside heritage-listed architectural features… it’s a blend made in heaven.
World-class glass and glazing outcomes never happen by accident: they always require the owner-developer, design teams and fabrication professionals to share a common dream – a ‘meeting of minds’ regarding uncompromised quality.
The new Inchcolm Hotel and Suites complex in Wickham Terrace, which reopened in November 2014 following a major refurbishment and extension, preserves the same high-quality finish that characterised the original building’s fittings and building materials: think of silky oak paneling, genuine Art Deco ornamentation, and an original Otis cage lift (one of only two left in Brisbane), and you get some idea of the historic appeal of the establishment.
The property was originally built in the 1880s as the residence of Dr John Thomson, who subsequently turned the building into a medical practice in the 1930s. The building continued to accommodate medical suites until 1997, when the current owner Peter Flynn purchased it and transformed the mostly neo-Georgian structure into a 36-room hotel. The purchase represented a return to Mr Flynn’s roots – he was actually born in the building!
“Certainly, Room 202 where Mr Flynn was born holds a special place in the hotel,” says Hotel Manager Daniel Meek.
“When it first opened as a hotel it had 36 suites and a bar-restaurant, but this latest refurbishment, which has taken up the majority of this year, involved completely remodeling the existing 36 suites and also extending with an additional 14 suites.”
PREMIUM GLASS & GLAZING
The entire building (except the restaurant) was equipped with new double glazed windows during the refurbishment. Window fabricator Paul Gerrard,
Managing Director of Energy Efficient Windows Brisbane, says the project called for a variety of specifications.
“In the front heritage section there are ‘tilt and turn’ windows positioned behind the heritage-listed steel windows; we weren’t allowed to remove the originals,” he says.
“The tilt and turns have a double function: they can either tilt from the top or open inwards like a door.”
The modern extension to the rear of the building showcases high-quality awning and casement windows.
Paul says the new section of the building, which includes curved walling, now features some of the best-performing windows in Brisbane. Double glazing supplied by Australian Insulated Glass (AIG) produces truly staggering performance thanks to uncompromising standards in combination with cutting-edge SuperSpacer technology. The IGUs [consisting of 6mm SuperGreen EVantage, heat soaked on the outer face/12mm air/SuperSpacer Premium Plus sealant/inside facing 10.38mm clear laminate] provide a U-value of 2.0 or lower, a SHGC 0.3 or lower and exceptionally high Rw-Values.
“I wouldn’t imagine there’s a window in Brisbane that performs as well as those,” Paul says.
These high-performance installations helped achieve the building’s required energy efficiency thresholds, and, just as importantly, they offer a peerless degree of acoustic comfort for guests and visitors.
Paul says all window frames are made from steel-reinforced uPVC, which maximizes energy efficiency because of its poor heat conductivity. Different uPVC frame colours were selected to match different forms of heritage or modern décor throughout the building, including white, cream, black, silver and golden oak.
The new Inchcolm also features two additional challenging glass installations undertaken by Brisbane based Australian Insulated Glass. “With the specification of such innovative and technically advanced glazing systems, our combined efforts truly transform this historic building, allowing for natural light filled areas,” says Phil French Managing Director of AIG.
Level 4 has glass flooring for nearly the entire length of the corridor, an area spanning 33 metres. The flooring is a make up of 25.52mm Clear glass, incorporating a performance SG Laminate, providing exceptional strength characteristics and enabling daylight to infiltrate the lower level.
A glass canopy awning installed by Australian Insulated Glass also features in their recent upgrade to the property. The 4 metre wide x 3.6 length glass awning compliments the front façade of the prestigious Inchcolm Hotel, with a make up of 27.04 Clear Toughened glass, featuring a high performance SG laminate.
EQUALLY IMPRESSIVE IGUs
The IGUs from AIG are equally impressive in terms of innovation and efficiency. All AIG double glazing is created with world-class Super Spacer technology, providing a long-lasting and resilient spacer/sealing system for optimal energy efficiency. The system is made from flexible silicone foam, which dramatically reduces the potential for condensation within each unit. In addition, because silicone is a poor transmitter of heat energy, the IGUs present a far more effective barrier against heat and cold. The great adhesive quality of silicone in different conditions and temperatures also helps conserve the argon gas in each IGU cavity – the world’s toughest P-1 test revealed losses of less than 1% argon over a simulated test period of five years.
As installed, the window systems are more than just a functional part of the building; they also contribute to the overall design aesthetic and reinforce a sense of engineering excellence that is mirrored in equally high-performance air-conditioning units, furniture and lighting accessories.
FOR DISCERNING GUESTS
High-performance windows are not passive instruments of energy efficiency – they are prominent and important elements of a first-rate hospitality package.
As Daniel Meek observes, discerning guests nowadays often select airlines, hotel accommodation and activities according to a range of factors, including superior energy efficiency. Certification programs like Green Globe, for instance, cater to the demand for sustainable tourism services.
“It’s something that’s definitely on the radar these days, from airlines offsetting carbon emissions to energy-efficient hotels,” Meek says.
Even the presence of openable windows is a much-appreciated aspect of the refurbished hotel’s amenities.
“The majority of hotels don’t have windows that open, but being a boutique property you need to offer as many points of difference as you can, and to be able to say you can open a window on a fresh spring day and enjoy some fresh air is certainly an attraction.”