Hastings Media Centre was a joint project between the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and The Hastings and Bexhill Taskforce. This partnership is now known simply as ‘Sea Space’. The Creative Media Centre is the first architectural manifestation of an ambitious regeneration programme for Hastings developed as part of the Sea Space ‘Five Point Plan’. A regional master plan was undertaken four years ago by MBM of Barcelona.
Our clients undertook research that indicated that there was a thriving creative IT community in and around Hastings and St.Leonards. However, this community was poorly served from the point of view of suitable accommodation and technical backup. Sea Space’s strategy has been to develop a first class media centre providing flexible affordable accommodation for these SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises). One of the main outcomes of this strategy is that these local companies are travelling a lot less on a day-to-day basis. The Centre has been designed as a hub for Hastings’ thriving creative information technology scene; encouraging collaboration, networking and innovative ideas in Hastings, where previously the community had to travel to London or Brighton for such environments.
The brief and design development required extensive consultation, not least with English Heritage, the Conservation Architect, as well as the local chamber of commerce. BBM undertook public consultations, including an all day conference in Hastings where other key developments in Hastings and St.Leonards were presented and discussed. BBM made a number of presentations during the feasibility study to 65 stakeholders.
The project provides a working example of how a contemporary multi-storey building in a very tight urban environment can employ low energy design techniques including utilising locally sourced, recycled non-toxic materials, while still satisfying the Client’s brief for a high-tech serviced office building next to the sea. The design team employed a full range of low energy design techniques to create a building with exterior skin that uses construction materials of low embodied energy and fitness for purpose, and accommodates a healthy/ non-toxic interior with a ‘long life / loose fit’ plan for future adaption.
BBM’s Creative Media Centre employs a steel frame bolted together instead of welded so that it can be reused one day. Two thirds of the façades are lime render on waste-timber fibreboard with treble glazed timber windows reflecting the proportions of the original town houses. The ‘third’ town house is replaced with a new glass and timber structure with cantilevered, treble-glazed bay windows picking up the adjoining building geometries on alternate floors creating a dynamic form providing a focus along the street as well as amazing views for the occupants. It also provides a new pedestrian access that runs below the building linking two pedestrian areas. The south facing facade is layered with external solar blinds (to avoid glare and excessive solar gain) that can be used at night as a huge projection screen; a working exhibit of the centre’s own output. BBM worked with local artist Alistair Boyd to develop the multi-coloured northern glass façade.