The first UK building of its kind to be awarded Passivhaus Plus status
RIBA South Award winner 2021
Winner of the RIBA North West Sustainability Award (Sponsored by Michelmersh)
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.