The Hayes Conference Centre lounge and reception renovation project

Leap Architects, Derbyshire, 2020



Photography by Kelvin Sampson & Josie Sampson     Download Original

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Extensive masterplan design proposals for The Hayes Conference Centre include restoring parts of the historic fabric of the Victorian Country House which have been covered up or altered over the years.

This modest restoration project was the first small step in a much larger strategic site-wide design programme. A flat-roof extension was constructed in the 1980s to provide a new main entrance reception to the conference centre. This took the visual focus away from the original main entrance and downplayed the importance of the lounge.

The room became redundant, a peripheral space no longer on the main circulation routes, whose architectural qualities were hidden away. In time, the masterplan designs will remove the extension, replacing it with a glass fronted, pitched roof lounge and reinstate the former main house entrance to become the focal point again.

Until this part of the scheme is implemented, a new doorway in the wall between the two adjacent rooms with frameless glass doors give guests enticing views of the delightful space the moment they arrive. The qualities of the lounge were concealed further by its décor. Timber wall panelling, doors, door head carvings, window shutters, ceiling beams and stair balusters had been painted dark brown.

Brown wallpaper, carpet and furniture all added to the oppressive nature of the space. Stripping back the paint revealed the original pitch pine timber features with its lively grain. Redecoration throughout with a brighter, more contemporary colour palette and removal of pendant lights and installation of an energy efficient lighting scheme brings the room back to glorious life. Its newfound connection with the main entrance puts it back on the beaten track for all to enjoy.

The original architect’s vision has been realised once again. Without substantive structural change, just by uncovering what had been hidden for too long.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was not provided.


  • Begun: Sep 2019
  • Completed: Mar 2020
  • Floor area: 258m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £233,437
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jul 2019
  • Procurement: JCT MWD 2016 (Minor Works Building Contract With Contractor's Design 2016)
  • Address: The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 1AU, United Kingdom

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