Hollaway Studio has been appointed to create a new headquarters and factory for Brompton Bikes on a 100 acre wetland site near Ashford in Kent.
The circular building will be positioned on stilts 2.2m above the floodplain which will be transformed into a nature reserve open to the public.
Cyclists will be allowed in the nature reserve as well as in the new building. No new parking spaces will be created, staff are encouraged to come by public transport or by bicycle.
A wide cycle path will serve as the main artery both around and through the building, allowing staff and visitors to cycle directly into and up to the roof where there will be a museum.
An interior street will connect the elements of the four-phase project which will house designers and creators as well as a manufacturing plant.
Brompton’s ambition is to be able to produce over 200,000 bicycles per year and employ over 1,500 people.
Will Butler-Adams, founder and chief executive of the UK’s largest bicycle manufacturer, said the new building would be a “revolutionary and sustainable bicycle factory of the future”.
He described it as a “true 21st-century Bournville”, adding: “The factory will merge the public and private realms of the industry allowing the public to not only see how Brompton bikes are made, but to reveal and educate how the industry works – a rarity in such contexts and something that will position him firmly within the community.
Guy Hollaway, lead partner at Hollaway Studio, said the challenge had been to both rethink the concept of the factory while creating a symbiotic relationship between industry and nature.
He said the building would appear to float above wetlands, allowing water levels to rise and fall throughout the year. A reinforced ground plate would be supported by foundation piles which would also draw heat from the ground.
“This ambitious project is truly revolutionary in its approach and aspires to serve as an example to demonstrate how the industry can embrace sustainable transport methods and create architecture that reflects the Brompton bicycle ethos,” added Hollaway.
The new headquarters will be submitted for planning in April and completion is expected by 2027.
Brompton’s current plant in Greenford, west London, will continue to operate until at least 2030, the company said.