View from the landscaped space at the heart of the ‘Hive’

Future Business Centre — Cambridge

Citylife / Interserve

Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects / Bidwells / MLM / Davis Langdon Aecom

The Hive project – described as “an enterprise and education park for a generation of change” – is located on the urban fringe of Cambridge. The Hive is a collective project intended to nurture business that is good for society and the environment, and is a partnership between Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge Regional College, and social enterprise charity Citylife.

The Hive will work with professionals working in construction who want to update their skills to adapt to a low-carbon economy; young people looking for vocational training in sustainable construction techniques; and businesses set up to tackle social or environmental needs.

5th Studio were masterplanners for the whole project and designed the key building on the site for Citylife. The Good Business Centre supports charities learning to trade, social enterprises wanting to grow and companies developing products that result in social or environmental benefits. The project had a £7m budget and looked to achieve BREEAM Excellent standard.


A series of images exploring the internal environments of the Future Business Centre: Creating economical and adaptable space for start-up companies

The physical form and internal spatial qualities of the building were developed in a series of large scale hand-crafted physical models.

1:100 model of the entire scheme to investigate form and material relationships

Robust spaces for both physical ‘making’ as well as virtual creativity

The central atrium – intended as a social space over which the break out and meeting spaces overlook

Developing and demonstrating relationships between architecture and furniture

Image of the entrance to the Future Business Centre from Kings Hedges Road

A rich frontage could start to engage with the urban fringe

The road itself strings together a vibrant collection of city landmarks, green spaces, and community institutions

Site planning principles

By placing the two buildings as ‘bookends’ to the site, a shared space is created at the centre

Investigating massing and distribution of the masterplan program through modelling

Developing a public facing building which creates a strong edge to the main road

Spaces for intellectual exchange – a conference room opening on to the shared atrium


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