Bicester Eco Business Centre gets planning approval


Corner view of the newly proposed centre

Architype’s proposal for the new Bicester Eco Business Centre has recently been granted planning permission by Cherwell City Council. The building will form part of the northwest Bicester Eco Town exemplar site, Elmsbrook, which is currently under construction.

The centre is one of the principal strategies in creating sustainable employment for the future northwest Bicester community, and the new three-storey building will accommodate 125 workplaces, serving local and start-up businesses.

In synergy with the pioneering eco-town’s masterplan, the business centre will be exemplar in sustainable architecture and construction; designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, zero carbon and aspires to be the first non-domestic building in the UK completed to the new Passivhaus Plus standard.

Lee Fordham explained why aiming to meet the new, ambitious standard is a good choice for this project;

“Bicester Eco Business Centre presented itself as an ideal project to attempt the new Passivhaus Plus standard. The combination of a dedicated client on a conscientious site, coupled with an appropriately experienced design team and contractor, has made us confident that we can take the design to the next level and meet the new standard.

View of the street scape

The vibrant new workplace, positioned on a gateway corner of the new ‘local centre,’ has been sensitively designed to be a distinctive building that forms a characterful bookend to the street, without detracting from the surrounding residences and mixed-use developments. Striking vertical timber fins that wrap the external envelope, function as a shading mechanism to the high levels of glazing, whilst also creating an attractive aesthetic.

The core of the simple, rectangular form is a triple height top-lit circulation space, which, coupled with the generous walkways, breakout spaces and landscaped areas is designed to encourage informal, happenstance meetings and foster a transparent community culture.

3 x floor plans of new centre

In parallel with a pallet of non-toxic natural materials, the environmental strategy will support a healthy working environment, helping to increase workforce wellness and productivity through clean, optimised air supply and eliminating excessive use of artificial heat and light. The low form-factor and high levels of quality insulation will be critical in the building’s thermal performance, which besides offering a controlled internal environment, will keep energy consumption to a minimum. The fabric-first approach is bolstered by a renewable energy strategy, including PV panels and heat supplied from the local district heating system.

With planning now granted, work is due to start on site later in the summer and expected to complete within a year. Keep visiting the blog for on site updates!