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Sovereign House

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Ben Adams Architects

The architect’s view

The brief was to re-design the front facade and reception of an existing office building in central Brighton, to create a more welcoming entrance with more presence, and to provide a new office infill within the existing oversized and underutilised atrium. 

Considering the location of the building, dominated by specialist retail, restaurants, theatre, new development and the neighbouring North Laine Conservation Area, Ben Adams Architects has transformed a late-1980s office building into a dramatic destination for its employees. The material palette for this project thoughtfully references these factors and blends with the existing building as well as providing a new sense of drama for the entrance. The use of glass captures natural light and disperses throughout and illuminates the full height Corian wall panels and resin floor. Recessed ceiling lights lead the visitor to a waiting area defined by a bespoke, timber and slatted installation. Prefabricated concrete furnishings create additional seating; a bespoke designed reception desk and rug all create a focal point for the visitor.

This development also includes insertion of a five-storey office infill into the existing, previously cavernous atrium. The infill features full height glazing and a top floor mezzanine office space, complete with balconies to look down on the atria below. The new infill creates two atria either side filled with the aforementioned bespoke lighting installation, developed in collaboration with lighting consultants Junction. The installation adds a new ambience to the communal spaces, maximising light into the reception and accentuating the new finishes and clean detailing.

  • Ben Adams, director, Ben Adams Architects

Project data

Quantity Surveyor: Jackson Coles
Contractor: Wates
Client: Aberdeen Asset Management
Contract value: £2.5 million
Lighting consultant: Junction
Structural consultant: Frankham Consultancy Group
M&E engineer: Peter Deer Associates
Letting agent/ retail consultant: Knight Frank, Stiles Harold Williams
Gross internal floor area: 8,300m²
Commissioned: March 2008
Planning permission for entrance: November 2010 
Planning permission for infill: May 2011
Start on site: September 2011
Completion: June 2012


Specified products


Reception wall panels

DuPont Corian


Resin floor

Altro TB Screed Natural Cliff





Cubicle partitions

Amwell Cubicles, Sylan range


Bespoke reception desk and joinery



Precast concrete bench and desk infill

Mass concrete


Mosaic shower tiles

Reed Harris, Ceramic pool white gloss


Floor tiles

Grestec, Galaxy Collection


Lift refurbishment

Crown Lifts


Curtain walling

Enhanced Glazing Systems


Sanitary ware

Dolphin Prestige



Zumtobel Freeline and Slotlight II





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