The first UK building of its kind to be awarded Passivhaus Plus status
Architype for Cherwell District Council
Contract value: £4m
Cost per m2: £3,487
For this timber-finned cornerstone of the last surviving Eco-Town project, the client brief asked for a zero carbon, fully-inclusive incubator for 125 local freelancers, entrepreneurs and flexible workers. The architect exceeded that, attaining Passivhaus Plus certification and BREEAM Outstanding. The brief also required a dramatic, industrial aesthetic that responded to neighbouring residential area. This was done in part by the undulating timber fins that offer solar shading to spaces set around a central core. The building sits on EPS-wrapped raft foundations, insulated with WarmCell’s recycled newspaper. Internally it features triple-glazing, Heraklith wood-wool natural ceilings, nettle-wrapped fabric boards for acoustics and extensive natural timber. A grid of huge, self-opening windows give an airy, almost ecclesiastic modernism to the building and function as a part of the MVHR system. The first UK building of its kind to be awarded Passivhaus Plus status, the Bicester Eco Business Centre is a living, working example of non-residential design that performs to the highest energy standards and delivers true, lasting sustainability on a budget.