Goldstone Hall, Mithras Student Village
Argeton Terracotta Cladding
Goldstone Hall in Mithras Student Village is part of a large regeneration project, providing accommodation for students at the University of Brighton. Mithras Student Village sits within the wider development of Moulsecoomb campus, which houses various university teaching buildings, as well as leisure facilities and student accommodation for over 800 students. One of five towers within the student village, at 18 storeys, Goldstone Hall is the tallest building to have been built in Brighton for the past 50 years. Goldstone Hall was designed to be the focal point of the project, towering above the other buildings, and clad with a staggering 17 different coloured tiles of Argeton terracotta cladding.
The campus is built on a brownfield site which was once home to two university car parks and Preston Barracks, a Georgian army base owned by the Ministry of Defence that had been derelict for 20 years. The area was highlighted as an opportunity for regeneration, to bring life back to the site and provide much needed housing for the growing University of Brighton. Over the past three decades, an influx of students to the city has caused housing issues, especially in the neighbourhood of Moulsecoomb, where the largest of the four university campuses is situated.
Taylor Maxwell worked with architects ECE Architecture and Hassell Studio, alongside main contractors Bouygues, to specify and supply Argeton terracotta cladding to Goldstone Hall. Once on-site, the terracotta cladding tiles were installed by sub-contractors M Price.
Highlighted as being the focal point of the masterplan, Goldstone Hall needed to have distinctive features and reflect the local architecture. The architects wanted to use a material that was both natural and robust, whilst allowing for a design that would help the building stand out against the rest of the development, where light cream coloured facing bricks had been selected. Argeton terracotta cladding was therefore specified, as it met all design requirements and facilitated the desire to make Goldstone Hall a striking building in Brighton’s skyline.
The use of 17 different colour terracotta tiles, from white through to blue, gold and brown, makes the building distinctive and unique. The tiles were selected by analysing colours found in the surrounding landscape, as well as colours found on the facade of a demolished pub that was once the local go-to for students. An algorithm was then used to randomly set these colours out across the facade to showcase the tones of the local architecture and the Brighton sky. The colours get darker as the tiles go down the building, assisting the facade in mirroring it’s landscape backdrop.
Brighton has historically had a low-rise skyline, due to its location between the sea and the South Downs National Park. In recent years, land has become scarcely available and the population of the city has continued to grow. Therefore, local planning committees recognised the need for high-rise buildings. Due to the existing architecture and the city’s cultural identity, the planning committees are strict, with any new high-rise buildings being expected to demonstrate high levels of design and contribute to the visual quality of the local environment. Goldstone Hall’s historical achievement of being the tallest building to be built in Brighton for the past 50 years, demonstrates the quality of the design.
Due to the complex design of the facade, it was important that the terracotta tiles could be fixed to the building quickly and easily. The Argeton Tampa tiles were selected as they are restrained using concealed clips rivetted to vertical rails, creating a sleek and clean facade that can be quickly installed. The quick installation process of the tiles reduced overall time on site and had both cost and environmental benefits.
Sustainability was a large focus of the overall development, with the scheme meeting BREEAM (Excellent) requirements. To receive this rating, buildings have to achieve a score of at least 85%. Argeton terracotta cladding provided the perfect solution as a sustainable facade product, being manufactured directly adjacent to the quarry where the clay used to make it is sourced, meaning the transport of raw materials is low. The tiles that are made from 100% natural materials also have an ISO 14025 and EN 15804 status and are fully recyclable at the end of their 35-year plus life cycle. Further to its forward-thinking sustainability credentials, the development features a 1km fitness and running route around its perimeter, to promote wellbeing and exercise. There are also over 1,000 bicycle parking spaces and 55 EV charging points for students, residents and guests.
It was important to the architects that the five towers in the student village had minimal visual and noise impact on the neighbouring buildings. The towers are therefore purposefully staggered and the grounds enriched with over 300 trees to break up the vast expanse of architecture. The creation of this student village has enabled the university to guarantee accommodation for all students in their first year of study, releasing pressure from the local housing market and increasing student satisfaction. The redeveloped campus creates a gateway into Brighton and has transformed the local area into an inspiring place for residents and university staff.