The Hawk’s Nest, Shepherd’s Bush

The Hawk’s Nest, Shepherd’s Bush

The largest SolaGlide retractable glass roof in the UK is the talk of the town! Freshly installed by us at über-hip venue The Hawk's Nest in the heart of London’s Shepherd’s Bush.

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When we were approached by the team at Bird House London, we were presented with the challenge of transforming the outdoor space at The Hawk’s Nest into a flexible all-year venue that could operate at full capacity whatever the weather, and would also provide sufficient sound-proofing to allow the premises to extend their opening hours by an additional two hours on their busiest nights.

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The space comprised a large outdoor alleyway beside the tube line arches running the length of Shepherd’s Bush Market. Although the venue had previously built a collection of basic structures to provide shelter, the rudimentary layout felt like a temporary solution which only provided limited protection from the elements, and no sound-proofing. Bird House London asked us to develop a proposal for a permanent solution that could provide more comprehensive and reliable shelter, whilst retaining the outdoor feel of the space, as this had become one of its unique selling points.

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The initial proposal was for a double-pitched, retractable double-glazed glass roof, making it the largest Libart retractable glass roof in the UK, at 5m x 13m. The SolaGlide product would satisfy the requirement for weather adaptability, whilst providing a significant level of sound-proofing to keep the neighbours happy, however boisterous the crowd got beneath.

Breezefree were appointed by the client as the principal designer for the project, with responsibility for the pre-construction phase, ensuring safe methods of work and eliminating or mitigating any health and safety risks during the construction phase. Breezefree’s installation of the retractable glass roof structure and vertically glazed ends also had to be coordinated with the client’s other contractors who were carrying out refurbishment and fitout works at the same time.

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Challenges included satisfying the stringent requirements of Transport for London due to the tube line running immediately above, as well as the venue’s request to have a space to trade in whilst construction work was taking place.

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One of TfL’s changes required a redesign of the original double-pitched roof. A single pitch lean-to was requested so that the apex would be running in line with the tops of the arches. However, the structure could not be attached to the brickwork, as this could potentially compromise the structural integrity of the brick railway arches. So, Breezefree designed a bespoke, freestanding steel structure in collaboration with structural engineers, which was designed to be installed to ground foundations that could be excavated into the adjoining ground without compromising the brick viaduct structure, making it fully free-standing and structurally independent of the Victorian era arches.

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The steelwork construction presented challenges due to Shepherd’s Bush Market trading next door and the location being an extremely busy West London transport hub. Despite this and the fact that the steel framework included extremely heavy lengths of steel measuring up to 9m long, the Breezefree installation team managed to have the whole steel framework installed in just three days.

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Additionally, the client required that one end of the structure be fully completed before the rest of the space, so that they could trade whilst construction work continued. This required close coordination with the client and other trades to expedite a useable trading space before continuation of the rest of the works.

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Breezefree addressed further requirements, including vertical glazed enclosures at each end and doors for fire escape routes. Close collaboration with the client's Fire Safety Engineer ensured compliance with fire regulations. Bespoke glass infill sections were also installed to fully enclose the parts of the space that were not square to the main structure.

The result is a cutting-edge hospitality space with an elegantly sliding roof that offers an open-air experience in summer, cosy enclosure in winter, and everything in between. The roof also offers enhanced soundproofing, reducing impact on neighbours when things are really taken up a notch on the venue’s most lively nights, and allowing longer trading hours and increased revenue.

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The stunning transformation means that the Hawk’s Nest can offer their delicious cocktails, and pizzas that have to be tasted to be believed, underneath an elevated and stylish roof that will help draw in diners and revellers for years to come.

Wil Fuller, Director and Co-Founder at Bird House London expressed his delight: “We have seen what was a bare alleyway three and a half years ago be transformed into the beautiful alfresco drinking and dining oasis that it is today. Shout out to our friends from Breezefree Ltd for making it happen.”

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