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Who is the developer/client of the project?
Describe the context of this project and the point it has reached in its development in 250 words max. When is the project expected to complete? Please upload a masterplan drawing that best describes the project in its location
Inspired by its community and location, Circus Street is a mixed-use development by regeneration specialist U+I, transforming a derelict area of Brighton – previously housing a fruit and vegetable market – into a bespoke new quarter.
Rated BREEAM Excellent across the scheme, Circus Street offers sustainable living in Brighton. The apartment typology is appropriate to the city’s grand Regency townhouses, mansion blocks and smaller terraced streets. Tall, slender ‘townhouse apartments’ give the feel of a more organically evolved development.
Circus Street provides high quality student accommodation for up to 450 students, designed to a high environmental standard with photovoltaic panels and green roof systems to encourage biodiversity.
A highly flexible, elegant office building with 30,000ft2 of floorspace for corporate tenants and with managed workspace. At ground floor, retail units are provided to activate facades and the streetscape.
A new stand-alone building for South East Dance connects to a public space for outdoor performance. Landscaping creates high quality public realm, with textured paving and planting. The building incorporates a feature escape stair, that corkscrews down the height of the building, referencing the movement of dance.
The overall approach to the masterplan aims to maximise space available for public realm, green space or programmable events space, embedding the notion of community and social interaction at the heart of the scheme.
All residential elements of the scheme are complete. The offices are due to complete beginning of July, with the full scheme, including Dance Space and outdoor events space completed end of July.
What do you see as the greatest success of this project to date? How has it made a promising start on the journey to its completion? 250 words max. Please upload an image of the project to support your statement
A success of the Circus Street development is that, despite not being complete, the scheme already feels like an embedded part of the local community in Brighton. The pitched roofs and the student building knit into the already vibrant tapestry of the vista when viewed from the top of North Road as you approach Brighton from the station. The identity of the scheme, and the place it holds in the minds of those who live and work in the neighbourhood, seems to have already been integrated into the broader identity of Brighton. shedkm and U+I’s intention was that the scheme should grow out of, and be a welcome addition to, the highly creative and somewhat rebellious personality of Brighton… rather than being a standalone development egotistically imposed on the seaside city from a distance. Brighton was shedkm’s client as much as U+I as developers were. As the buildings begin to be lived in, worked in, and danced the creative and cultural lifeblood of Brighton will flow through the buildings. Circus Street has always been about the people that it houses, and the process of the architecture being enlivened as the buildings begin to open up is akin to the blossoming apple trees in the orchard.
How are you responding to changing demographics, behaviours, market context, policy, transport habits and the climate crisis since winning planning? What is your sustainability strategy and how are you mitigating carbon use and construction pollution? 250 words max. Please attach images, drawings or reports that support your statement
This decade-long project has seen seismic shifts in political and economic landscapes and has been delivered on-site during the global pandemic. Since planning in 2014, the rapid change in social behaviour and public health initiatives has had direct impacts on the project. The demand for office space has shifted and there have been important conversations about how a cultural asset like the Dance Space can open safely in a post-pandemic world. As the residential buildings are occupied, with most of the residents working from home, the external courtyards and semi-private amenity spaces are crucial in providing a space for solace and a sense of community is being solidified.
As a BREEAM Excellent scheme, sustainability and re-use of materials on site has been a primary focus throughout the project. Passive-led design is a core overriding principle to minimising energy consumption and minimising reliance on artificial intervention, including low or zero carbon technologies. Thoughtful orientation of buildings, via a solar control strategy, places buildings on a north/south axis to minimise excessive solar gain in summer and remove all north-facing single aspect units from the project. Most buildings have two or three sheltered building sides and are arranged around a courtyard to reduce unnecessary exposure to tougher Brighton coastal elements. The 100m run of metal railings along the eastern boundary will be re-used to create art elsewhere on the site.
Since planning, and following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017, a full audit of all façade build-ups was completed to ensure a non-combustible specification.
Please share any figures on how the project is making a positive environmental, social and economic impact. Data or reports, article references or media clippings may also be attached to support your argument. 250 words max.
Circus Street has been rated BREEAM Excellent site wide. Homes at Circus Street are designed as flexibly as possible with a long-life/loose-fit approach, with open plan kitchens and only bathrooms creating fixed rooms. Large windows and nominal partitions/fixed features create adaptable and spacious accommodation. These buildings have been designed for a predicted design life as follows for the main components:
Structures – 60 years
External Walls and Windows – 30 years
Roof – 30 years
Services and drainage – 25 years
The project has had a positive, regenerative impact on the surrounding properties, specifically those along Circus Street that are within the conservation area, that have had improvement works to the building frontages. Throughout the four years on site, there has been an uplift in the quality of the surrounding area - with a hope this is in some way a result of the project’s delivery. A demonstration of the very real investment in Circus Street.
Extensive community consultation was also undertaken, with in excess of 100,000 visitors attending the 2+ year worthwhile activities hosted in a disused market building during planning and construction stages. Events hosted ranged from sports, education, arts and dance; all of which sought to 1) help better understand the needs and wants of the local community and wider city to inform design and 2) build trust between development and community to help support the delivery of a bold new vision which sets a new standard for urban mixed-use regeneration in Brighton.