The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia is open for business following the completion of work on the highly innovative building, which sets the standard for sustainability.
The building forms a new gateway to the University and has achieved record-breaking sustainability credentials. It is one of the first buildings to target both BREEAM Outstanding and Passivhaus accreditation. It exemplifies the use of low embodied carbon materials and is designed to achieve a 100-year life span.
The vision was developed by the Adapt Low Carbon Group and delivered by Morgan Sindall plc, with a team including architects and Passivhaus designers Architype, structural and building services engineers BDP, and Churchman Landscape Architects.
Completed in June, the building features an innovation lab, a 300-seat lecture theatre, flexible workspaces, teaching and learning facilities, as well as business hatcheries and incubator units for SMEs and start-ups in the low carbon sector. By placing academic and commercial users side by side, the centre’s purpose is to foster innovation, stimulate smarter ways of working, promote industry standards and create new supply chains.
The building features a number of ‘world-firsts’; key among these is the use of prefabricated and vertically hung straw thatch panel cassettes, which have been used to clad the building. The straw was sourced locally, to fill timber cassette modules off-site in barns across Norfolk. The prefabricated thatch cassette panels were erected onto the façade of the building, creating a striking, and highly innovative sustainable envelope.
The project is also supporting innovation in the construction sector across the East of England, by helping professionals in the sector to understand how to design, build and operate class leading buildings such as The Enterprise Centre. The scheme is looking to assist over 300 small and medium sized companies with advice, bespoke support, practical tours and demonstrations. Other outcomes from the project will include over 200 jobs created or safeguarded, 35 businesses locating to eco-efficient high quality workspaces, which will be supplied with low carbon energy, and 200 businesses integrating new products, processes or services.