The Boho Zone, Middlesbrough's digital and creative quarter, serves as the vibrant core of the Tees Valley's digital tech offerings, and currently offers a mix of commercial office space, live-work space, and residential space across multiple buildings.

Boho X is the most recent addition to the Boho Zone.

Initially, the project was envisioned as a twenty-storey tower in Middlesbrough's city centre. However, our adaptive approach, in response to changing post-pandemic office space dynamics and our commitment to addressing the region's requirements, resulted in a substantial shift in project direction. Through close collaboration with Middlesbrough Council, the project was transformed to better align with the area's needs.

Boho X now significantly benefits the local community by creating jobs, fostering economic growth, and offering education and skills development programmes.

A multi-disciplinary approach

Upon reviewing the initial project brief, it was clear that the original design concept did not fully meet expectations, particularly in terms of resource use and sustainability. Close collaboration with Middlesbrough Council and the design team led to a comprehensive gap analysis, which revealed that a reduced building height and an expanded footprint would significantly improve both net lettable area and energy efficiency, driving the scheme’s evolution.

A meticulously coordinated space plan was pivotal in this development, ensuring efficient service integration without compromising the client’s net lettable area. By skilfully incorporating complex engineering systems and efficient space planning, the project was poised for successful execution, instilling confidence in its implementation.

We were entrusted with a comprehensive array of services for the project, spanning from its initial inception to an advanced RIBA Stage 3, commonly known as the 'Spatial Coordination' phase. Within this scope, we delivered a range of services encompassing structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (SMEP) expertise, in addition to fire and acoustic design solutions.

The project at hand presented us with a unique set of challenges, foremost among them being the seamless integration of a lecture theatre, a bar, and a gym within the confines of a six-storey building. These diverse functions demanded meticulous spatial planning, architectural finesse, and innovative engineering solutions to ensure the harmonious coexistence of these elements. Furthermore, our commitment to sustainability was paramount. We had the responsibility of ensuring that the building adhered to rigorous environmental standards, notably achieving a BREEAM rating of 'Very Good.' This involved the implementation of sustainable design principles and the optimisation of energy efficiency throughout the project.

In addition to the BREEAM certification, we were also instrumental in securing WiredScore accreditation at the 'Platinum' level. This underscores our dedication to providing state-of-the-art digital infrastructure and connectivity within the building, therefore ensuring a technologically advanced and future-proof environment for its occupants.

Our involvement in this endeavour extended beyond the boundaries of the building itself. We actively participated in the development of the masterplans for the wider site, working collaboratively to regenerate more sections of the brownfield site. This strategic engagement showcases our holistic approach to urban development and underlines our commitment to not only delivering an outstanding structure but also contributing positively to the broader community and environment.

Boho X marks the latest addition to the Town's digital campus, emphasizing the success of collaborative efforts between the Council, consultants, and the main contractor. Arup's unwavering commitment and innovative problem-solving were pivotal in overcoming initial feasibility challenges.

Steve Fletcher

Head of Development, Middlesbrough Council

The project's journey from concept to implementation is a testament to our dedication to excellence, innovation, and sustainability. The success of Boho X serves as a model and inspiration for future developments, demonstrating the potential of investing in digital and creative sectors as catalysts for urban regeneration and economic prosperity. Boho X stands as a symbol of the town's forward-thinking vision.