The Depot, Brighton

Year: 2006Project description: an office development within the North Laines Brighton Conservation area. Replacing a redundant light industrial space the development sits within the backs of 2 parallel streets.Contract sum: £2.1m projectedClient: ASA Property PartnershipWe have been working with Robin Locke on this very difficult site for some time. The difficulty relates to planning issues involving negotiation with some 20 family groups all of whom have properties backing onto the site.GroundA large percentage of this new 1240 sqm building, which will be very significant for the area is detached from the street. In order to give it a ‘presence’ in the area as well as an adequate connection to the street, it is designed to project out into and above the street in places within the existing opening for the large garage doors as well as an opening created by the demolition of 36 Vine Street.These projections pick up on, play with and respect the lines of roofs and massing of the existing buildings and help to mark out the new development, working together with other projections from the houses on the opposite side of the street – creating a memorable and distinctive streetscape.The new insertion into the streetscape of Vine St reads as a sensuous curve finished with horizontal timbers pushing out from the existing building line – picking up and responding to various horizontal datums within the existing facades – before wrapping back in to form the ceiling of the ground floor. The design gives views in deep into building at both entrances. This move makes it possible for the users as well as the general public to experience the building as a whole.Long Elevation+The arrangement of small scale cut outs, forming windows are largely invisible from street level. The cheeks of the 3 components of the new building will be glazed and copper clad on the boundaries to the ‘Block’ and 35 Vine Street.The proposal, in our view, doesn’t only respect but also enhance the character of this area, both in terms of the treatment of the insertions in Vine Street and with the lightweight roof structure at the North Road end.The new building provides 940sqm of new office space (plus 300sqm of communal breakout spaces, terraces and 2 cores and entrance areas). The arrangement provides flexible office space enabling single or multiple use. The shared ‘break-out’ lounge area offers interaction and recreation for the tenants as well as informal meeting spaces.Small Plans SectionsElevation++