Sunderland City Council/Carillion/Igloo
A new speculative workspace, ‘The Beam’ is the first phase centrepiece of the ambitious regeneration of the former Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland City Centre.
This is the first building to be completed on the landmark site and part of the 15 year regeneration project which, once complete, will extend the city centre, create thousands of jobs and have a major social and economic impact on the region. It is a catalyst for Sunderland’s future.
The building provides five floors of Grade A office accommodation with views across the River Wear towards the Wearmouth Bridge and ground floor retail, café and restaurant offers.
Designed with five themes in mind: a healthy office, a sustainable workplace, an appealing workplace, a lean building, and a contextual response, The Beam sets a high standard of workplace accommodation for the site.
The project is a joint venture between Sunderland City Council, Carillion and Igloo. The Beam is now solely owned by Sunderland City Council
As part of the wider 5.5 hectare Riverside Sunderland development, The Beam is central to this significant regeneration project in Sunderland city centre.
The scheme is planned as a mixed use development, including offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, an hotel, and residential apartments. New public spaces allow for paths and cycle routes. City-side the development will link across to Keel Square and the regenerated Music and Arts Quarter. The social impact on the city is eagerly anticipated as follow-on phases for new Civic Offices are about to commence construction.
The design is rooted in its place – a building for Sunderland. A ‘liner’ of a building, its horizontal lines and prow reflect the shipping heritage of Sunderland, while bronze finishes are reminiscent of not only shipping, but of the brewing kettles of the Vaux Brewery.
An exposed steel structure resonates with the trusses of the Wearmouth Bridge. Externally its expression rejects the trend for full height vertical windows, and instead has an holistic approach to shading and ventilation through its softly perforated, horizontally pleated façade.
This sustainable workplace promotes a healthy work-life balance. Office spaces wrap around a protected courtyard atrium which is vibrantly planted and open to the sky. This space lends itself to staff meetings, lunch breaks and events and brings daylight and fresh air deep into the building’s core.
Opening windows and generous floor to ceiling heights help natural ventilation and allow for natural lighting throughout. Exposed concrete ceilings provide thermal mass keeping the building warm in winter and cool in summer.
The project has been efficient and lean in its construction to not only ensure 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 lean construction system gives a desired character and finish architecturally and helps to reduce embodied carbon – often overlooked as the major carbon consumer in the life of the building.
Client: Joint venture between Sunderland City Council, Carillion and Igloo. The Beam is now solely owned by Sunderland City Council
Landscape Projects Ltd
M&E Engineer: Desco
Siglion / Igloo Regeneration
Structural Engineer: Cundall
Main Contractor: Tolent Construction