Aliva’s mesmerising murmuration for Brighton building takes flight

A unique façade created by Aliva, mimicking a murmuration of starlings moving across Brighton pier, is being installed on a new landmark academic building in the city.

Aliva, the UK leader in bespoke façades and interior finishes, has custom-designed the terracotta tiled façade with leading architectural practice Hassell and the Montresor Partnership for the University of Brighton’s new Business School.

The building will be a distinctive landmark in an area undergoing a huge renovation as part of the University’s £60 million Big Build programme, which is transforming the Moulsecoomb campus.

Contractors Gilbert-Ash have been appointed to construct the new building and work to add the bespoke tiles to the building is now underway.

Architects Hassell has designed the new six-floor building and commissioned Aliva to deliver every aspect of the ventilated façade design.

In partnership with Hassell, Aliva developed a tailormade system with a bespoke structure which could satisfy the technical requirements demanded by the building, with a façade design which pays homage to the character of the area.

A custom ceramic veil frame wraps around the building from the second level to support bespoke tiles manufactured and supplied by Aliva. When complete, the building will reach a height of 26.85m.

A total of 3,120sqm of unique white glazed square terracotta tiles will be used to create the striking design to echo the mesmerising flocking patterns of starlings.

Six different types of handmade geometric tiles in matt, gloss and semi-gloss finishes, including some which are partially open, will help to suggest movement.

Brighton’s stunning starling murmurations usually take place between November and February over the seafront, leaving visitors spellbound time and time again.

Construction of the building is expected to complete later this year and will provide a state-of-the-art home for the University’s new Business School.

Features include a triple-storey atrium as well as a range of flexible teaching and collaborative spaces.

James Ormerod, Managing Director at Aliva UK, said:

Innovation sits at the heart of our projects and we pride ourselves in turning an architect’s vision into a reality.

Creating this completely bespoke solution, which has never been developed before, has been really exciting and required exploring traditional and new techniques.

This is a landmark project for Brighton and once complete will provide a stunning new front door to the campus, with a breath-taking effect.

We hope to see buildings across the country embrace the pioneering types of terracotta systems we can deliver.

Aliva’s team has also successfully designed a coastal project in the city, delivering a £1m contract to provide more than 6,000sqm of ceramic cladding for a major residential and leisure development at Brighton marina.