New Enterprise Hub at Goldsmiths, University of London by Morris+Company gets planning go ahead

Planning has been granted for a new Enterprise Hub at Goldsmiths, University of London, designed by Morris+Company, transforming a Victorian parade of shops on the busy and vibrant New Cross Road, into a modern incubator space for local enterprise and entrepreneurship. The project, to commence this year, will also feature a cafe, garden, and flexible exhibition and event space, forming an integral addition to the university campus and the New Cross community at large.

The ambitious retrofit will transform and extend the four-storey Victorian terraces, from 302-312 New Cross Road, which have been in longstanding need of major refurbishment. The scheme also includes two new-build interventions, a contemporary new ‘infill’ Pavilion, and a link element to connect the Hub with Deptford Town Hall, part of the Goldsmiths estate, making this adjacent Grade-II listed building fully accessible for the first time.

The Goldsmiths Enterprise Hub is designed to offer access to flexible workspace, and a sustainable creative business eco-system, for up to 100 local businesses and social enterprises. This will comprise incubation and innovation space for enterprise, support, networking and knowledge exchange for local entrepreneurs, small businesses, students and alumni. Based in the centre of the Lewisham Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ), the Hub has been awarded £1m from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund, and is set to boost the creative reputation of the borough, and the capital.

The project approach, to reuse and upgrade, is informed by the site’s location in the Deptford Town Hall Conservation Area. As well as refurbishing the existing terraces, the scheme will extend and unify the façade in a coherent manner, giving contemporary expression to the existing Victorian architecture. The rear of the terraces will be extended and repaired with simple brick detailing, clay tiles, and precast coping elements, while the second floor will have a setback roof profile in a playful repeated form, to break up the massing.

Integral to the overall scheme will be the newly built Pavilion, on a parcel of land to the rear of the terraces. The single-storey enterprise and incubation space, lit with multiple roof lights, will open onto a sheltered garden space, designed to provide biodiversity and space for reflection. The link element, a further architectural intervention, will sit between the Hub and Deptford Town Hall to improve accessibility and to help open up this part of Goldsmiths’ campus as a community space for use by members of the public and students and staff. A newly created chamfered corner entrance, framing the new link, will provide the main public route into the Hub.

The Pavilion and link element will be built from sustainably sourced timber, and use zero-carbon methods of construction, while filigree metal façades will reference the decorative metalwork that adorns the Town Hall. The overall scheme is designed to net zero-carbon principles, including natural ventilation and light to the Pavilion, and air source heat pumps to the terraces. Sustainability sourced timber is used extensively throughout the scheme interior, bringing a natural softness to the spaces, while sequestering CO2. The timber will be complemented by a light and natural palette of contemporary interior materials, to further promote wellbeing, including porcelain tile, screed concrete, and beech plywood.

David Storring, Morris+Company Director, commented:

“Born through extensive consultation and dialogue with Goldsmiths, GLA, Lewisham council, local business, entrepreneurs and the local community; this project offers a new typology for creative workspace, a bridge between Goldsmiths and the local community.”