C-BEC - Construction and Built Environment Centre

A project designed to BREEAM excellent standards to create a new School of Construction and the Built Environment at Norwich City College. Designed to showcase and explain the various sustainable technologies, the building is also a teaching tool in its own right.Some proven low carbon technologies incorporated in the design include hemp walls in interlocking curved form to create a strong shape and minimise the material used in the construction; glulam columns and beams; ground source heat recovery via deep bore; a Passive ventilation system using a south facing trombe wall; a green and brown roof; and computers grouped together to create a stack ventilation effect to assist the natural ventilation system.The building’s services are configured to be as visible as possible to the students using the building. This includes demonstration areas on the roof and a glass floor in the lobby to view the top of the ground source heating system as well as viewing panels in the walls to see into the trombe wall and plant room. The building incorporates a BMS display in the hall and classrooms so students and visitors can see the operational control systems of the building at work. 

It was necessary to develop the design to a highly detailed level simultaneously as the planning application was being considered in order to meet the schools’ own programme for construction.  The scheme was very well received by the both the College and the City. However local opposition to such a contemporary building hindered the planning application and the scheme has currently been put on hold. 

Property Name



Norwich City Centre

Planning District

Norwich City Council




Winning entry, Competition



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