The Hive is also home to the county archives and record office, a local history centre, and the county’s archaeology service.
The site is on the western fringe of Worcester city centre and lies within the regeneration area of St Clements’ Gate. This is an important zone, situated between the medieval centre and the riverside. In the second half of the twentieth century it became fragmented and lost any urban form. To the south of the site there is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which is retained and exploited as part of the site-wide historic interpretation.
The Hive was conceived as a ‘social landscape’ providing horizontal and vertical connections, allowing every user to move around the building freely. Access through the site is provided by a series of ramps that form an external street.
This approach has allowed them to create step-free access.
The building’s form and its unique structure draw inspiration from the kilns of the historic Royal Worcester works and the undulating ridge of the Malvern Hills.
The roof is formed by a series of irregular laminated timber roof cones, which optimise natural lighting and ventilation throughout the structure. The practice has designed the central atrium’s double height, ash-lined interior to extend the roof’s timber vernacular into the heart of the building. A feature stair allows easy access to facilities across multiple levels.
Working with artist Libby Lloyd, they developed a palette for The Hive that reflects colours typically used in the heyday of the Royal Worcester pottery.
The project has been awarded a BREEAM Outstanding rating.
Photo credits: Hufton & Crow