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First look

New Studio Egret West-designed innovation hub ‘one of the healthiest workplaces in the country’

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Plus X Brighton is the first of a planned network of innovation hubs launched by Plus X and regeneration specialist U+I that are designed to support the next generation of businesses 

Designed by Studio Egret West, the 53,000 sq ft building in Brighton is in the process of being accredited as both platinum standard by the WELL Building Institute and BREEAM Excellent as well as having an EPC B Rating. 

The innovation hub comprises flexible work spaces to support businesses of varying types and sizes. On its lower floors it accommodates a three-storey co-working space with digital studios and prototyping labs for the creation of first batch prototypes and facilities for entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups, with more standard office space on the four floors above.

To support users, the building contains technical facilities that include precision CNC milling machines, laser cutters, UX test suites, electronics laboratory, image, video and podcast studios.

A rooftop terrace is designed to enhance biodiversity with edible plants and herbs and offer occupiers an additional social space.

Airspace, our roof terrace photo credit jim stephenson

Airspace, our roof terrace photo credit jim stephenson

Source: Jim Stephenson

The building is flexibly laid out to enable it to adapt to member demand or changes in the market. The floorplates from ground to second floors are split into two halves, allowing businesses to grow and evolve within the building. A triple height atrium linked by a series of bridges and stairs, encourages circulation and interaction between its users. 

The bright and open yellow façade is intended to reflect the life and activity inside. Similarly the main circulation space is also clad in yellow aluminium, pared down with the use of birch-ply clad hanging meeting boxes and paneling.

Air quality is monitored for CO2, dust and humidity and adjusted to meet WELL standards. The building has also been designed to feature green electricity, with solar panels, as well as a zero to landfill policy, locally sourcing produce in its café, and using only eco cleaning products.

Cafe space with birchwood cladded meeting rooms suspended from the ceiling photo credit  jim stephenson

Cafe space with birchwood cladded meeting rooms suspended from the ceiling photo credit jim stephenson

Source: Jim Stephenson

Architect’s view

The wellbeing of place and people has been fundamental to the design of Plus X Brighton, and is embodied in the building’s ambition to enhance the experience of all those that use it. The building achieves the accolades of Wellbeing Platinum, BREEAM Excellent and Wired Platinum, introducing a new grade of workplace to Brighton. Most importantly, it feels great to be there. Plus X Brighton is bright and open, yet also intimate and welcoming, and this dual ambition of offering high quality functional spaces while also creating the ambience to promote creativity and interaction has been key to our design approach.

The building is pivotal to the success of the neighbourhood, both in terms of its central location at the heart of the emerging place as well as its programmatic use at ground floor. Working with Plus X Brighton has allowed the design to be very specific to this placemaking task, for example the building has no formal reception or security at ground level; instead there is a notional street that runs from one side to the other that anyone can walk through, taking in the café and event space on the way through. Externally the building brings a fresh and bold aesthetic, marking its spot on Lewes Road and inviting the surrounding academic, student and residential communities to take part in the transformation of Moulsecoomb.  

Lucas Lawrence, director, Studio Egret West

Meeting room jim stephenson

Meeting room jim stephenson

Source: Jim Stephenson

Clients’ view

Plus X Brighton is the first building to complete at our Preston Barracks development, one of Brighton’s largest ever regeneration schemes. When complete, the wider scheme will create a thriving new academic and economic corridor in the city, creating over 1,500 jobs and delivering 369 new homes and 534 student bedrooms, as well as a new home for the University of Brighton Business School.

With a range of different state-of-the-art work spaces and facilities, Plus X Brighton has been designed to support companies of all sizes: from entrepreneurs and start-ups to scale-ups and larger corporate occupiers, enabling businesses to grow but stay within the building. Studio Egret West’s design, featuring flexible floorplates, bold use of colour and contemporary materials, is as innovative as the occupiers who are moving in.

As well as providing the support that Britain’s new generation of entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups and innovators need to grow and thrive, the Plus X model works to catalyse economic activity within large-scale brownfield developments, creating a magnet that attracts people and businesses into a new area. This is so important as the nation moves forward after the COVID-19 pandemic, as we must now work even harder, and more creatively, to stimulate economic activity. Plus X Brighton will do just that, all the while supporting the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who are remaking the UK’s economy.

Richard Upton, chief development officer, U+I

Our Plus X Brighton innovation hub has been designed to help businesses innovate, collaborate and grow. We worked with Studio Egret West and U+I to create a standout seven storey building infused with colour, light and work and meeting space shaped for positive and creative productivity. As well as being one of the healthiest buildings in the UK with world class air quality control, rich biophilia and a living green rooftop offering ‘dream big’ views, we believe our unique services and facilities will make the innovators of the future.

Plus X Brighton workshops feature state of the art facilities to help our members prototype and develop products and services at pace. To fuel these ambitions, we have also secured Platinum rated digital connectivity delivered by WiredScore. Two dedicated floors designed to enhance business innovation through expertise and collaboration will be customised to support business members of BRITE, our brand new 3 year innovation programme in partnership with the University of Brighton.

It’s a proud moment to see the first Plus X innovation hub come alive, acting as a beacon building in the wider regeneration of Preston Barracks.

Paul Rostas, co-CEO, Plus X

Plus x ground floor plan

Plus x ground floor plan

Source: Studio Egret West

Ground floor plan

Project Data

Start on site July 2018
Completion date May 2020
Gross internal floor area 5,021m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 5,711m2
Form of contract or procurement route Design and Build
Construction cost £14.5 million
Construction cost per m£2,540
Architect Studio Egret West
Interior architect Studio Egret West
Compliance architect Veretec
Client U+I plc
Office operator Plus X Brighton
Structural engineer HOP (Hemsley Orrell Partnership)
M&E consultant Scotch Partners LLP / NWP Electrical & Mechanical Ltd
QS Robinson Low Francis LLP
Landscape consultant Studio Egret West
Acoustic consultant Adnitt Acoustics / AWN Consulting
Project manager Marick PS Limited
CDM coordinator Faithful + Gould
Approved building inspector Approved Inspector Services Limited
Main contractor Graham Construction Limited
CAD software used Revit / BIM
Planning consultant NTR Planning
Accessibility consultant Buro Happold Engineering
Fire consultant Buro Happold Engineering
Highways consultant Peter Brett Associates
Internal feature lighting consultant Kate & Sam Lighting Designers
Access consultant Reef Associates Ltd
Archaeologist CgMs
Environmental consultant Ramboll Environmental

Environmental performance data

Airtightness at 50pa 4m
Heating and hot water load 6.2kwh/m2/yr
Overall area-weighted u-value 0.52w/m2k
Annual CO2 emissions 14.8KgCO2eq/m2

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