Passivhaus Affiliate

Bicester Eco Business Centre aims for Passivhaus Plus

Bicester Eco Business Centre (BEBC), designed by PHT Patron Architype, aims to become the UK's first commercial building certified to Passivhaus Plus. The proposal has recently been granted planning approval by Cherwell District Council. The 1147m2 building will form a key element of the zero-carbon northwest Bicester Eco Town in Elmsbrook, which is currently under construction.

Bicester Eco Business Centre (BEBC)

 All images ©Architype

The centre is one of the principal strategies in creating sustainable employment for the future northwest Bicester community. Commissioned by the local authority, the new three-storey building will accommodate 125 workplaces, serving local and start-up businesses.

In synergy with the pioneering eco-town’s masterplan, the business centre will be exemplar in sustainable architecture and construction; designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, zero carbon and aspires to be the first non-domestic building in the UK, completed to the new Passivhaus Plus standard with a predicted energy demand of ≤45 kWh/(m²TFAa) Led by the specialist expertise of Project Architects, Architype, and experienced contractors Kier Construction, the delivery team is primed to accept the challenge.


Bicester Eco Business Centre presented itself as an ideal project to attempt the new Passivhaus Plus standard. The combination of a dedicated client on a conscientious site, coupled with an appropriately experienced design team and contractor, has made us confident that we can take the design to the next level and meet the new standard.

Lee Fordham, Project Architect, Architype


The vibrant new workplace, positioned on a gateway corner of the new ‘local centre,’ has been sensitively designed to be a distinctive building that forms a characterful bookend to the street, without detracting from the surrounding residences and mixed-use developments. Striking vertical timber fins that wrap the external envelope, function as a shading mechanism to the high levels of glazing, whilst also creating an attractive aesthetic.

Bicester Eco Business Centre

All images ©Architype

The core of the simple, rectangular form is a triple height top-lit circulation space, which, coupled with the generous walkways, breakout spaces and landscaped areas is designed to encourage informal, happenstance meetings and foster a transparent community culture.

In parallel with a pallet of non-toxic natural materials, the environmental strategy will support a healthy working environment, helping to increase workforce wellness and productivity through clean, optimised air supply and eliminating excessive use of artificial heat and light. The low form-factor and high levels of quality insulation will be critical in the building’s thermal performance, which besides offering a controlled internal environment, will keep energy consumption to a minimum. The fabric-first approach is bolstered by a renewable energy strategy, including PV panels and heat supplied from the local district heating system.


Key Team


Key Facts

Client: Cherwell District Council 

Architects: Architype

Contractors: Kier Construction

Project Managers: Virtus

Structural Engineers: Price & Myers LLP

M&E consultant: E3 Consulting Engineers

Acoustician: Ion Acoustics

Landscape: Churchman Landscape Architects


Start date on-site: Aug 2017

Expected Completion: June 2018

Gross internal floor area: 1147m2

Construction Type: Concrete Frame with timber infill

Form of contract: Design & Build

Predicted energy demands: ≤45 kWh/(m²TFAa)

Environmental targets: Passivhaus Plus, BREEAM Excellent, Zero-Carbon


Architype, who were recently honoured for their first major Passivhaus commercial sector project, The Enterprise Centre, which won the British Council for Offices Award in 2016, is confident that their approach will bring about a dynamic contribution to the eco-towns latest addition. 


People’s expectations of the workplace are shifting, and creating spaces that support health and wellbeing, whilst inspiring a culture of collaboration is increasingly important to businesses.

Mark Barry, Director, Architype 


Councilor Colin Clarke, Cherwell’s lead member for planning, echoed Barry’s sentiment by highlighting the council's commitment to delivering local services that contribute to people’s wellbeing, enjoyment and health. He goes on to say that this project highlights the importance of the built and natural environment in improving health by enabling residents to make healthy choices. The Eco Business Centre sits in a very accessible area where people can travel to work in sustainable ways, either on foot, by bike or by public transport, meaning the need to travel by private car would be reduced which would also benefit local air quality.

Work is due to start on site later in the summer (2017) and expected to complete within a year.


Further Information


22nd June 2017

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