A new speculative workspace called The Beam stands as a landmark building on the former Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland, and is part of an ambitious regeneration project to extend the city centre.
The building provides five floors of Grade A office accommodation with panoramic views of Sunderland and beyond to the sea, as well as retail, café and restaurant offers at ground level. Office spaces wrap around a courtyard atrium which opens to the sky, bringing daylight and fresh air deep into the building’s core. Floorplates are designed to be flexible for multiple layouts, and future proofing is around not only flexibility and adaptability, but also around climate change adaption.
The judges said “The building's design has a sophisticated and refreshing approach to sustainability and creates a healthy environment for its users… The Beam is a remarkably well designed building that has been delivered within challenging circumstances. It serves as an exemplar for sustainable office design and successful speculative regeneration, and the key to this success is the way the design connects to its context.”
Efficient and lean in its construction, the project has not only ensured its embodied energy is minimised, but also that it is cost effective. This has been achieved through an innovative low embodied energy, hybrid steel and pre-cast concrete frame that was quick to construct.
The Beam is one of four projects awarded by RIBA North East. RIBA National awards will be announced on 9 September.