University of East Anglia, Enterprise Centre

Establishing a new benchmark in sustainability in the UK

Following in the footsteps of the UEA’s fine architectural heritage the Enterprise Centre establishes a new benchmark in sustainability. 

 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)
 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)

The Enterprise Building is conceived as a pavilion within the parkland landscape, and a series of new courtyard spaces and connections with the historic courts and gardens of the Earlham Hall Campus.


Churchman worked closely with Architype on the development of the Earlham masterplan, which sensitively incorporated 10,000m2 of new academic space into the historic walled garden and landscape of Earlham Hall, at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. 

The initial phase of the Enterprise Centre includes what has been called the UK’s ‘Greenest’ building. The scheme is rooted in a low carbon approach to construction and has been thoughtfully planned to minimise impact on the historic setting of nearby Earlham Hall. 

At the heart of the Enterprise Building and announcing the main approach, the Flint Garden is a dynamic space around which the new facility exists. 


Capturing and storing rainwater and greywater from its surroundings, the garden both harnesses and celebrates the site water management strategy. Taking it's cue from the local vernacular, and as a foil to the precise form of the building the garden is composed of a carpet of whole flints which are alternately dry and then inundated with water, expressing the extremes of drought and flood. This feeds into a bed of Norfolk Reeds before soaking away, reflecting the source of cladding to the building. The pool is framed by a fine pre-cast concrete surround which connects into the building plinth. Thistreatment flows seamlessly through a glazed link to form a terrace with views out into a stand of Scots Pine trees.

 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)
 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)

With future development of a walled garden the landscape will unroll as a series of interconnected courtyards. 


Enclosed by buildings and terraced to account for the level change, these will form a series of simple collegiate courts, lawned and planted with specimen trees.

The project has also enabled the creation of the UEA’s modern physic garden, which will grow with Earlham campus and provides the opportunity for students, researchers, business communities and the public to come together to explore the roles of plants in wellbeing, health, art and science, history and the environment.