Princess Anne last week opened a new factory for furniture company Ercol in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. Designed by Horden Cherry Lee Architects, the new incarnation for Richard Horden, it is a forward-looking factory that will act as a worthy key occupant on a site previously occupied by the Building Research Establishment. Conceived as a 'pavilion in the park' in a landscape of mature trees, the simple steel-framed building puts manufacturing, administration and showroom under one roof, with clear links between all elements. The single factory space, made possible by the phasing out of solvent-based finishes on the furniture, has a top-lit circulation route and a wall of windows opening onto the landscape.
The only planning constraint was that the building should not have a shiny roof as near neighbour Lord Carrington, whose house looks down on the building, would be likely to complain. Still to be constructed is a steel and timber screen at the front that will shield the office from the view of the car park. Architect Stephen Cherry described the current appearance of the building as 'like a BMW without the radiator grille'.
The steel frame covers an area of 180 by 90m, and the construction cost was £14.5 million.