74 remodels former Victorian gymnasium to create Hox Haus - a new, central focus for Hox Park student campus
Manchester-based architecture and interior design practice 74 has completed a major project to extend and remodel a Grade II-listed, two-storey, Victorian brick building in a semi-rural location in Englefield Green, just outside Egham. The repurposed 453 sq m building – Hox Haus – will serve as the central focus, clubhouse and social amenity for Hox Park student campus, newly-created by developers Moorfield Group for students attending Royal Holloway, University of London.
The new campus is located within a larger, 67-acre mixed-use site, owned by Royalton Group. Its Surrey location, near Runnymede, where Magna Carta was once signed, lent the site its name: Magna Carta Park. The Hox Park campus is one aspect of an overall masterplan for the site that also includes affordable and luxury housing, as well as an Audley Senior Living village.
The vision for Hox Haus was to encompass a number of important practical, social and unifying functions for its student users, including serving as a welcome point and gatehouse; parcel pick-up area; workspace for single study or group study and a downtime amenity with TV and games lounges, offering video-gaming booths, pool and table football. The building will also serve as the campus hospitality hang-out, offering free soft drinks, tea points and vended snacks and has also been flexibly designed for easy reconfiguration as a special event space, with moveable furniture and built-in bar points able to house pop-up catering.
Architecturally, Hox Haus is a stylish, eye-catching and dynamic 2-storey building that seeks to blend its original Victorian brickwork with two new glazed ‘light box’ interventions, creating a light-filled and largely transparent overall space that brings the outside in, references the building’s semi-rural location and offers a warm, comfortable and relaxing home-from-home for students. The two new interventions constitute a double-height, 44 sq m gatehouse to the building’s east elevation and a 35 sq m, covered terrace section on the first storey, offering views over the whole campus. The terrace extension sits behind the parapet of an existing ground-floor extension, making it subservient to the host building. Both new interventions are clad or semi-clad (at first floor level for the gatehouse) with bronze-coloured, 4.6m-high, anodised aluminium fins. The fine, hard surfaces of the glazing and metal fins create a striking and elegant contrast to the rough-textured and robust solidity of the original structure, adding refinement and reflectivity to the building as a whole.