Construction begins on £130m “innovation quarter”

Construction has begun on Circus Street, a £130m innovation quarter on the site of the old municipal market in Brighton. Architects ShedKM in collaboration with developers U+I have created an ambitious new development masterplan. ShedKM’s masterplan is conceived as a

rich composition of distinctive buildings and public spaces woven together to create a new destination. The design draws on the “patchwork” of building styles within the Brighton cityscape and reinterprets them as part of a “progressive and sustain- able new quarter.” Situated on Circus Street at the edge of

Brighton’s academic district, the ambitious new 0.73 ha mixed-use development includes plans for 142 new homes, 450 student bedrooms, 30,000 ft2

of business

and start-up space and an international Dance Space. ShedKM has conceived a “sensitive”

material palette that references the tones and hues of neighbouring buildings to ensure that Circus Street will harmonise with its urban context. This includes the use of galvanised metal cladding (on The

WORKING TOGETHER Farmer and Fusion collaborate on offsite futures

Mark Farmer – author of the ‘Modernise or Die’ construction industry report – and Fusion Building Systems, a national offsite light gauge steel superstructure manufac- turer have met to discuss ways of develop- ing new training and career opportunities within the offsite construction sector. Taking their lead from the Construction

Industry Training Board (CITB)’s report ‘Faster, Smarter, More Efficient: Building Skills for Offsite Construction’, Farmer and Fusion reviewed the issues currently affecting the UK construction industry and discussed the routes which could be opened up to develop a skilled offsite workforce.

Their discussions centred around key

findings of the CITB report which noted the low levels of industry awareness of the skills needed for offsite construction and how future, nationally-recognised training should deliver a diverse range of skill sets. The report also highlighted the need for

industry-wide education in so-called “softer skills”, such as an awareness of behaviours and attitudes in the workplace. Mike Fairey, Fusion Building Systems

director said: “There are already a handful of colleges and universities who are offering courses in modern methods of construction (MMC), but considering the startling findings of Mark's report which looked at the desperate future of UK construction as a whole, there need to be many more. The industry needs to turn to offsite, but as the CITB report has shown, awareness, understanding and acceptance of MMC needs to catch up.”

Dance Space), plus black cladding on townhouses, white brick on offices, and red brick on student accommodatio. The palette in its entirety can be viewed from Circus Square events space. Circus Street will be urban rather than

suburban in scale while avoiding a ‘mega- block’ approach to massing. Instead, most of the individual buildings will rise to between six to eight storeys in height with the exception of a number of taller ‘marker’ buildings up to 13 storeys high. Pedestrian routes through the site will refer back to historic street patterns prior to the develop- ment of the market. These will provide permeability and help break down the impact of the dense new development. ShedKM’s design guardian and consult-

ant architect Helen Misselbrook said: “Circus Street will be a beautiful and inspir- ing place that keys into the creative life- blood of Brighton. We can now make tangible our design and realise our vision. A place for Brighton. A place to live, learn, dance, nurture and grow.” Hazel Rounding, director at ShedKM commented on the development: “The start

on site is a major milestone in our journey to create a new urban quarter in Brighton which, through the belief and dedication of all stakeholders and individuals, has become a significant placemaking venture in our portfolio.” ShedKM won a competition for the

project in 2012 and successfully obtained planning permission in September 2014. Construction is expected to complete in spring 2020.



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