Situated at the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship garden, RHS Wisley, the RHS Hilltop building became the first dedicated centre of excellence for horticultural science following it’s opening in June 2021.
Designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and gardeners, the beautiful space is home to three separate gardens promoting wellbeing, world food and wildlife respectively, as well as an event space, café and sky terrace.
With an emphasis on sustainability, RHS Hilltop is partly fuelled by renewable energy sources, including rainwater to reduce the reliance on tap water, and an incredible 99% of the waste generated during construction of the building was recycled.
On the initial specification, one room in particular stood out; the event space.
Motorised blinds were required throughout to provide solar shading for the stunning shaped window, rooflights and large-drop windows, while standard roller blinds were required for the rest of the building.
Furthermore, a combination of blackout and screen fabrics were required in the event room to create a versatile space.
Our team worked closely with Osborne and WilkinsonEyre to ensure we met the design intent within budget.
The initial proposal for the sloped glazing was for staggered drop-down roller blinds. However, as there was no fixing detail due to the limited amount of space within the roof line and bulkhead, this wasn’t possible.
Our team overcame this by using a combination of upward pulling tensioned blinds, our ShadeTech® MSW system, and standard gravity drop roller blinds to ensure 8.3m x 5.4m section of glazing was fully shaded.
The motors were fixed to the steel running across the middle of the window, with tensioned springs in the cassette and cables connected to a pulley above the window keeping the upward pulling fabric taut.
Our ShadeTech® RBL-E motorised blinds were the ideal solution for the 6m-drop clerestory windows, as it allowed us to link the motors to save on wiring and hardware costs and create the aforementioned dual system, comprising of blackout and screen fabrics.
Finally, blackout blinds were also required for the rooflights in the event space and circulation areas. Here, we used Shy’s ZIP Blackout system as the edge of the fabric is concealed with the side channels, preventing any light ingress.
As the photos demonstrate, the finish is spectacular.
The dual system creates a versatile event space where heat gain and glare is controlled by the screen fabric, which also provides a view to the surrounding gardens, while the blackout fabric is also an option for scenarios in which this is required.
The £35million project, led by WilkinsonEyre, was awarded the RIBA South East Regional Award in 2023.
If you’d like to discuss solar shading solutions for your projects, please contact us here and our expert team will happily assist.