Hethel Engineering Centre

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  • Regional centre for engineering business incubation.
  • Prestige design to enhance image and attract investment.
  • Impressive water features as part of a sustainable drainage system.
  • Highly commended in SCALA Building of the Year Awards.

Hethel Engineering Centre in Norfolk was designed as part of a regional hub for engineering innovation centred round the existing Lotus Engineering research and testing facilities.  The Centre itself was to be an incubator for engineering businesses with both workshop and business facilities. The project was supported by the East of England Development Agency and Norfolk County Council and we were contracted by NPS architects to create a landscape that would contribute to the status of the high profile development.

A particular challenge was to harmonise the building’s ethos of high quality engineering with the low-lying agricultural land of its surroundings.  The design needed a “wow” factor to emphasise that this was a centre of innovation and to attract firms to locate there and in turn to attract investors to those firms.

A key feature of our design was to place a small lake to the front of the site which was crossed by a causeway, creating an impressive entrance for visitors.  This was further supported by a pond with fountain jets and a bridge with a sculptural archway.  The water features were part of a sustainable drainage system using recycled water.  Native tree and shrub planting was used to filter views of the centre from the surrounding countryside.

The Centre has gone from strength to strength and has been expanded to accommodate more businesses.  The project was highly commended in the SCALA (Society for Construction and Architecture in Local Authorities) Building of the Year awards.

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