American Express HQ


Built on a steep, elevated urban site with the historic Brighton Pavilion as its backdrop, we created a vibrant, highly articulated building that offers a sustainable and future-proofed working environment. Taking inspiration from the wider site context, each elevation is designed to reflect Brighton’s colourful spirit and signal American Express’s long-term commitment to the town.

Onejohnstreet Abstract
Onejohnstreet Back

The American Express offices in Brighton had reached the end of their life span and we were briefed to design a high-quality office building that would offer large flexible floor plates with high levels of servicing to meet the needs of a 21st century business. The 12-storey office building includes an underground car park, gym, conference centre, training and meeting rooms along with a staff restaurant with outdoor seating areas that provide spectacular views across Brighton and the south coast.

At ground-floor level, the double-height main entrance extends along the street with feature pendant lighting creating an open and inviting frontage. The floor is terraced internally to provide a visual synergy with the external environment whilst a café for staff and visitors provides a dynamic and lively scene when viewed from the street.

Onejohnstreet Cladding
Onejohnstreet Artwall1
Onejohnstreet Artwall2

Sustainability and responsibility are at the heart of this building. EPR worked with the town planners to achieve a high BREEAM rating. The building’s extensive ‘green’ features included excavated chalk removed and taken to fifteen different local sites for reuse. American Express worked closely with the neighbouring school and funded vital improvements. Public artwork using decorative ceramic tiles created by artist Kate Malone, who collaborated with the school, the Deaf Association and American Express employees was installed on one façade to create a visual tribute to the town.

Onejohnstreet Reception
Onejohnstreet Corridor
Onejohnstreet Breakout

We have designed the internal spaces to have a sense of openness and fluidity, encouraging a flexible and modern working environment. An internal curve motif is used throughout, creating a smooth transition from the secure reception space into the building. Similarly, perimeter coffer lighting assists the flow and linking of the entrance with the core and other parts of the building.

Onejohnstreet Interior
Onejohnstreet Light
Onejohnstreet Context

We faced a number of significant challenges. The site is steep and the building needed to relate to its surroundings but not overbear  key heritage sites. Attention to reducing the overall impact of the building is evident in each elevation: the coloured fritted glass facing the neighbouring school is intended to reduce overlooking, add vibrancy and provide a distinct nod to the colourful terraced houses on the street.

2013 UK Property Awards Best Office Architecture, South East
2013 UK Property Awards Best Office Interior, South East
2013 Property Awards Best Office Architecture, UK
2013 Association of Interior Specialists Gold Award: Drywall Construction (Gold Winner)

Onejohnstreet Elevation1

Client: American Express | Services: Architecture; Interior Design | Size: 360,000ft²