Sustainable Brompton HQ invites visitors to get on their bikes
British folding bicycle manufacturer Brompton has commissioned a new office headquarters and factory complex in Kent, England. Described as the "factory of the future," the focus will be on reducing its grid-based energy use with impressive sustainable design, and it will also feature a network of bike paths and walkways, allowing visitors and staff to ride right up onto its roof.
Designed by Hollaway Studio (previously Guy Hollaway Architects), the headquarters and factory complex will be located on a sprawling wetlands site measuring 100 acres (40 hectares). It will be raised 2.2 m (7.2 ft) above the landscape on piles and sport a reinforced floorplate, allowing it to withstand flooding. As viewed from above, it will take the overall form of a large wheel-shaped main building attached to two secondary rectangular buildings with smaller low-rise corridor-like structures.
Naturally enough for a company that makes bicycles, riding is a key focus of the project. Though it will of course offer access by road, the plan is to encourage visitors and staff to cycle, walk or take public transport to the premises instead of taking the car.
"The building is circled by a publicly accessible cycleway which weaves in and out of the building, providing both expansive views of the site and multisensory experiences of the factory processes along the route," explained Hollaway Studio. "The journey ends at the roof, where a Brompton Museum, recreational areas and a shared canteen for both workers and visitors alike can be found."
Inside will be office space and the factory area itself, where the manufacturing will take place. Brompton hopes to produce 200,000 cycles annually once everything is up and running.
The sustainable design will be quite extensive. It will have "outstanding" insulation, says Hollaway Studio, allowing it to maintain a relatively steady temperature with minimal energy use, while ground-source heat pumps will draw warmth efficiently into the building. Generous glazing, including skylights, will maximize natural light inside and natural ventilation will help keep the interior cool. A series of solar panels working in tandem with wind turbines will reduce its draw on the power grid, plus green roofs will top the buildings to help with insulation.
Additionally, during the construction process, 60 acres (24 hectares) of the site will be transformed into a public nature reserve, with rewilding carried out and other cycle paths and trails added nearby.
Brompton aims to submit planning permission for the development soon. Assuming all goes well, the project is expected to be completed in 2027.