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BuckleyGrayYeoman wins planning for Brighton’s Wedding Cake replacement

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BuckleyGrayYeoman’s proposals for a £100 million mixed-use scheme in central Brighton have been granted planning permission

The 28,000m² project for developer First Base is located on the site of the former European HQ of American Express on Edward Street and replaces the now-demolished, nine-floor building designed by Gollins, Melvin, Ward & Partners, which opened in 1977 and was known locally as the Wedding Cake.

The scheme includes six new buildings arranged around a new square, comprising 168 new homes as well as commercial and retail units.

BuckleyGrayYeoman director Matt Yeoman said: ’We have been asked to create a design that places public realm and community at the very heart of the scheme.

’Edward Street Quarter will be a truly mixed-use project that will provide new workspace and homes set among new, high-quality pedestrianised streets and public squares.’ 

It will also reinstate a street that formerly cut across the site in an attempt to tie it into the grain of surrounding streets.

Local conservation group the Regency Society had criticised the Wedding Cake’s demolition, describing it as ‘arguably Brighton’s best post-war building’.

In 2013, American Express moved its Brighton operations to a new building designed by EPR Architects on a neighbouring site.

Architect’s view

The appearance of each of the new commercial and residential buildings has been carefully considered so that each responds the wider context. An elegant and restrained material palette has been selected with brickwork referencing Brighton’s Victorian architectural heritage, and glazed ceramic detailing and contemporary flourishes of bronze metalwork tying each of the blocks together to create continuity throughout the project. 

The practice has placed its focus on creating high-quality public space throughout the development, with new pedestrian routes that open up the site and green space to encourage people to visit and stay. At the centre of the site, a new landscaped square will provide a focus for social uses, providing a place to sit in the shade of newly-planted mature trees or for children to play while their parents enjoy a coffee on the outdoor terrace of one of the cafés or restaurants that will face onto the square. 

BuckleyGrayYeoman will also reinstate Mighell Street, which once cut across the site, providing a pedestrian route that will run through the centre of the development, increasing pedestrian access into the new quarter while tying it into the grain and character of the surrounding streets. Sustainable and active travel, such as walking, will be encouraged by the new pedestrian routes, complemented by facilities for cyclists.

Amex house, edward street, brighton (from southeast)

Amex house, edward street, brighton (from southeast)

The now-demolshed former Amex House building in Brighton, designed by GMW (1977)

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Beam down into Brighton in front of the 'wedding cake' and you might recognise where you were, but beam down into this new architecture and you could be anywhere.

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