July 30: Leading construction and fit out company, Gilbert-Ash, has handed over another ground-breaking project which has been part-inspired by a murmuration of starlings over Brighton’s iconic pier.
The design and build project for a new Business School for the University of Brighton was handed over on Monday July 12.
Construction comprised concrete piled foundations, an insitu fair faced concrete frame including soffit walls and columns, a polished concrete living stair with Spanish steps and bespoke ceramic veil cladding.
The building also incorporated exposed services and baffled ceilings, an extensive CAT B fit out with bespoke joinery, wall and ceiling panelling, as well as complex service installation including combined smoke extraction and natural ventilation.
The new six-storey School provides event space, creative breakout within a triple-storey atrium, workplace and teaching spaces, meeting rooms, offices and consultation rooms, a café, kitchenettes and plant space. Extensive public realm works are also included to provide an enhanced external experience.
The works form the centrepiece of a major redevelopment project taking place across the University.
One of the most striking features of the new Business School is the bespoke terracotta tiled ceramic veil façade with six different tile types and three different degrees of gloss finish. A first of its kind in façade design, it takes its inspiration from starling murmurations seen over Brighton pier on winter evenings.
Gilbert-Ash Contracts Manager, Chris Fletcher, described the new Business School as one of the most impressive buildings he has ever worked on.
He said: “It really is an outstanding building. With large rooms and lots of open spaces it is an enhanced space going above and beyond being fit for purpose.
This was a highly complex project, full of challenging details, finishes and build techniques, none of which were straightforward, but there was little in 2020 that went exactly to plan as the pandemic struck.
Despite the many challenges, through working collaboratively with the Client team, Gilbert-Ash handed over another first-class project on budget and on time.
We would highlight that without a very supportive and collaborative Client team the success of this project would have been much more challenging.”
Chris also paid tribute to the Gilbert-Ash team who came together ‘as one’ to face down the challenges of the pandemic.
“The teamwork was amazing, both from the people on the site, and those back at headquarters, who were working tirelessly to make sure we had the materials we needed as the global shortage took hold.
I was proud to see how everyone at Gilbert-Ash and our Supply Chain Partners rolled their sleeves up with the goal of overcoming any issues to deliver a first-class project for our Client.”
The new Business School will now help the University remain competitive on both the national and international stage.
Gilbert-Ash attributes its continued success to its ‘As One’ approach and its unique working culture and family environment as an employee-owned company. It continues to complete a broad portfolio of successful construction projects across sectors including arts and culture, workplace, hotels and leisure, education, science and technology, retail, residential and student accommodation.