Balconies by Sapphire flow onto riverside apartments in Reading

An innovative mix of balcony and balustrade solutions by Sapphire is bringing outdoor space with style to new riverside apartments by Crest Nicholson in the thriving, high-tech town of Reading. Kennet House has been completely transformed from a disused 1960s office block into a highly desirable residential development with a bold architectural façade incorporating rendered cladding panels. Sapphire worked with the project’s regeneration team to complete the transformation, providing purpose-designed balconies that perfectly suit the building’s distinctive design and construction.

In the process of converting Kennet House into luxury riverside living accommodation a new fully insulated external skin was installed to the existing concrete frame. Four new storeys were also added, creating apartments over nine floors with superb views over the River Kennet and beyond. Sapphire’s bespoke package for the project is based around the company’s core balustrade and balcony systems, utilising standard manufacturing principles, this maximises cost and time efficiencies for clients whilst still allowing custom design variations to satisfy specific client requirements.

Approximately 500 metres of balustrades were manufactured and installed by Sapphire to outdoor space on apartment terraces (mainly on the riverside elevations) and to create both standard and ‘wrap around’ Juliette balconies at Kennet House. The slim, contemporary sightlines of Sapphire’s Jasper flat baluster system, with a graphite grey powder coated finish and clear glass infill panels, provided the ideal solution for this aspect of the project. For symmetry across the façade, this attractive combination was also used for pre-glazed bolt-on balconies to larger apartments. Balconies were manufactured offsite by Sapphire and delivered as pre-assembled units ready for fast-track installation using Sapphire’s innovative connectors. Once on site, individual balcony units simply ‘Glide-On’ to pre-erected connection brackets, saving time and cost for housebuilders, developers and contractors. The speed of the balcony install was essential, as it was the last element of the project to be completed prior to the apartments being made ready for the new owners to move in.

Given the nature of the building’s construction, some Juliette balconies had to be fixed directly to the new aluminium-clad timber windows. This non-standard fixing requirement was addressed with bespoke bracketry, specially developed by Sapphire for the project in collaboration with the window manufacturer.

Sapphire’s contribution to the transformation of Kennet House is another example of the company’s personal service, design expertise and intelligent engineering in action, says Marketing Manager, Nick Haughton. He comments: “This stunning regeneration project shows how our intelligently designed and expertly installed balconies and balustrades can make a real difference to a high rise residential development, adding both character and value to the outdoor space.”