Horlicks Factory, Slough

Client:   Berkeley Homes (Oxford & Chiltern) Limited

Contractor:   Berkeley Homes (Oxford & Chiltern) Limited

Architect:   Symmetrys Limited

Location:   Slough, Berkshire

Balconies:   30 balcony lifts

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“The Sapphire team have been proactive at every stage, from early design advice to the development of the project. A really good experience.”

Project Director, Berkeley Homes Oxford


The Horlicks Factory, a heritage site located in Slough, Berkshire, is a project that stands out not only for its historical significance but also for its innovative approach to modern living. The iconic factory tower and facade, elements of the site that are listed, were thoughtfully incorporated into the architect’s design, paying homage to the site’s rich history. Berkeley Homes, recognising the importance of blending this heritage with contemporary design, engaged Sapphire Balconies early in the development process. The goal was to create a unique balcony design that was cost-effective across the scheme and leveraged the benefits of offsite manufacturing, both for projecting balconies and the more complex inset balconies.

How Sapphire Made It Simple

The challenge lay in designing balconies that would resonate with the industrial “architectural language” of the Horlicks Factory while ensuring modern efficiency and sustainability. Sapphire Balconies rose to the occasion by developing a method for manufacturing these inset balconies offsite, complete with mechanically fixed brick slip fascias. This innovative approach was realised at Sapphire’s Winchester factory, allowing for the intricate detailing and deep, industrial-style balconies to be produced with high precision and quality.

The inset balconies, featuring brick slip fascias, were designed to be extra deep, enhancing the industrial aesthetic of the development. By choosing to manufacture these components offsite, Sapphire not only ensured a cost-effective solution but also addressed potential complexities associated with onsite construction. Issues such as thermally breaking the balconies on three sides and solving drainage complexities were significantly simplified. The offsite manufacturing process also meant that the facade around the balconies could be completed without the logistical and technical challenges that concrete balconies might have posed, reducing susceptibility to long-term issues.

This project exemplifies how heritage and innovation can be intertwined to create something truly unique. The Horlicks Factory development showcases Sapphire Balconies’ ability to navigate the intricacies of working with heritage sites, delivering modern solutions that respect historical significance while pushing the boundaries of balcony design and construction. Through their innovative approach to offsite manufacturing, Sapphire ensured that the balconies were not only a nod to the site’s industrial past but also a testament to the future of architectural design.

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