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Farrell and Grimshaw's Bath factory listed

A factory in Bath designed by Terry Farrell and Nicholas Grimshaw has been awarded a Grade II listing

The low-rise 1976 Herman Miller Factory on the banks of the River Avon was put forward for listing by The Twentieth Century Society which described the building as ‘an outstanding and early high tech’ building.

Drawn up by the Farrell Grimshaw Partnership before the firm’s famous partners went their separate ways in 1980, the factory’s cream-coloured fibre glass panelling was ‘deliberately chosen, along with the low sleek proportions of the building, to chime with the aesthetic of the surrounding conservation area and Bath scene’, said the Society.

English Heritage, who recommended the factory was listed, said it ‘expressed many of the key features of the British high tech movement’ and prasied its ‘carefully modulated colouring and profile which sits in harmony with the landscape’.

A spokesperson for The Twentieth Century Society added: ‘The single storey factory is a deep planned rectangular structure supported by a simple dual grid system of steel columns and beams. A special feature is that the cladding system which is demountable – it consists of a grid of rectangular hollow sections onto which panels of glass, fibreglass and louvres are fixed in using aluminium sections and neoprene gaskets.

‘It is based around the idea that people without construction skills – including the factory workforce – could alter the cladding to suit their needs – so break areas, office areas, or special areas requiring daylight can be created or moved, and it also means the external profile of the building can be changed around if required.’

The plant is still used by American office furniture production company Herman Miller, although there are fears the manufacturer is looking to sell the site.

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The building won several awards including the Financial Times Industrial Award in 1977, and the RIBA South West Award in 1978.

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