Jun 16, 2020

New London Architecture: Knowledge Networks

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Our recently completed Plus X Brighton innovation hub has been featured in the NLA's latest insight study as an exemplar of innovation driving wider regeneration.

Knowledge Networks explores the growth in knowledge-intensive industries across London, Oxford and Cambridge, known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, and examines how the knowledge economy can be strengthened across this region. The full NLA document can be downloaded by clicking here, with Plus X Brighton featured on page 121.

Preston Barracks Studio Egret West Image 18 The Preston Barracks site under construction, with Plus X at its centre, 2019

Plus X Brighton is the first completed Plus X building, with Plus X being a new localised national network of innovation hubs that aims to transform left behind places and support Britain’s new generation of entrepreneurs and inventors. Backed by listed regeneration specialist U+I, with ourselves acting as architect and landscape architect, Plus X Brighton opened its doors to members in June this year. This state-of-the-art 50,000 sq ft building sits at the heart of U+I's Preston Barracks development in Brighton, which we have also led the framework for.

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Plus X goes beyond the desk space model of mainstream co-working providers to provide cutting edge workspaces with state-of-the-art media studios, prototype workshops and bio labs, as well as the mentoring, accelerator programmes, and business support required by the entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, start-ups and scale-ups at the leading edge of building Britain’s new economy.

Plus X buildings are unique in that they are purpose-built and will be tailored to the specifics of the local economy and the existing talent pool. At Plus X Brighton builds on themes around the circular economy and digital media. Integration with the locality is also key. There is an emphasis on community outreach initiatives including sessions and programmes for schools, NEETs and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as providing space and assistance to local communities. Occupants will benefit from close ties with academia and businesses, particularly where they have an on-site presence. Follow-on space will be available in the same hub to enable small businesses to grow, ensuring local businesses are retained and continue to benefit the local economy.

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Photos by Zach Hyland at Plus X Brighton
Zach Hyland Plus X 18
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‘By supporting local innovation, Plus X can catalyse economic activity within left behind areas, attracting further occupiers and accelerating the virtuous circle of business activity essential to the success of large-scale regeneration schemes.

A Real Worth study found that a Plus X creates as much as 160 times more social and economic value as that of a traditional office, and 16 times more than a mainstream co-working space.

That is why this model is so powerful. The aim is to not only transform once vibrant industrial areas, but support a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to remake the UK's economy.

Richard Upton, chief development officer, U+I


New London Architecture: Knowledge Networks