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Location: Brighton, East Sussex

Client: Espalier Private Equity Ltd

Value: £26.5m

Status: Completed 2007

Brighton Study Centre

Completed in 2012, this building consolidates Study Group’s headquarters with an international residential college on a constrained site close to Brighton mainline station, designed with sustainability at its heart.

As an anchor to the masterplan within Brighton’s New England Quarter, the scheme provides offices alongside a 1000-pupil international school, including specialist teaching spaces and residential accommodation for 375 students. This delivers a diverse community of international students into the heart of the site with no car use. The design links the Centre’s diverse functions; with corporate, academic and residential components each having their own briefs, the spacious atrium-street offers a focal point to bring these elements together.

This scheme has been designed to high standards in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability. The bold standard to reduce carbon use set by the Local Authority was achieved through benchmarks based on best practice for each of the uses; the aim for the design was to outperform the target by 40%. We also worked closely with Brighton City Council to meet their biodiversity aims, incorporating sedum roofs, green walls and bird nest boxes into the building fabric, to reduce the urban heat island effect and enhance biodiversity.

All the materials were selected as part of a green procurement strategy, where the environmental impact of each element of the building was assessed, including embodied energy, manufacture, recyclability and eco toxicity.

Formerly located on five different sites with separate brand identities, the design challenge was how to bring together these distinct school communities and the headquarters’ staff into one building, creating a new shared identity. An internet café, refectory and breakout spaces are arranged around a series of landscaped courtyards, each with secure access. Again, the design was led by the aim to create a shared and distinctive identity.