American Express New Headquarters

  • AMEX Headquarters CG building aerial view
  • AMEX Headquarters CG building in situ
  • AMEX Headquarters CG building

American Express’ new headquarters in Brighton is designed to help the company cope with the high-tech demands of 21st century commerce. A thoroughly modern building, it will provide capacity for 3,000 staff, alongside a staff restaurant and shops. With cost and planning restrictions, the site required an inventive solution to ensure its success as the flagship building for a financial giant.

The 34,750m2 development has been split into two buildings, the 11 storey high end office complex and a substantial data centre to the east of the site. The beautiful curved design, the site location and the high value of internal space all proved to be interesting challenges for our team.

Through a close design relationship with both the architect and the building services engineers, our experts were able to maximise the efficiency of the structural frame of the office building. We proposed a novel tube-in-tube composite column to minimize their size and maximise the workable space inside the open plan offices, meaning more workstations and more staff. Efficient design of the structure led to more of the construction budget being available for items such as the facade and finishes, resulting in a more valuable project.

Set in a valley, the sloping nature of the site and the deep basement challenged the construction of the substructure. Our team investigated a number of feasible options, allowing adequate provision in the cost plan and enabling prospective contractors to be aware of the construction implications. The site’s deep layers of weathered chalk also impacted the foundation solution. Our ground engineers’ answer to this was a bored pile wall system to limit movement in surrounding buildings and infrastructure, and to save both money and time during construction.

Our heavy emphasis on collaboration with the design team and understanding the client’s needs and priorities resulted in an efficient use of material. The design caters for future flexibility with cost certainty at the early project stages.

Key facts

  • Capacity for 3,000 staff
  • 11 storey high end office complex

The Project Details

Client: American Express Services Europe Ltd

Architect: EPR

BuroHappold services: Structural Engineering, Ground Engineering, Infrastructure, Transportation Planning, Façade Engineering