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Grimshaw returns to transform 1976 factory into school of design

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Grimshaw is to convert one of its own seminal buildings, the 1976 Herman Miller factory, into a design school for Bath Spa University

The practice has drawn up designs for the transformation of the celebrated Grade II-listed former manufacturing block in Locksbrook Road into the new Bath School of Art and Design.

Nicholas Grimshaw – then of Farrell & Grimshaw Architects – designed the 6,320m² industrial facility for the furniture company in 1976.


Historic England described it as ‘an important early work by one of Britain’s foremost contemporary architects [which] expresses many of the key features of the British High-Tech movement’.

Now Grimshaw is returning to the landmark building to create a learning environment for the university’s art and design students.

The scheme will retain many of the factory’s existing external features, including its distinctive façade. Internally, it will offer modern teaching facilities, practical workshops, studios, a gallery, a café and an art shop. A new rooftop pavilion will add a third storey, providing space for project working.

Landscaping works will be included in the scheme, as well as improvements to a cycle route and pedestrian pathway that runs alongside the building.

Bath School of Art and Design executive dean Anita Taylor said: ‘We have taken on a building with a strong identity which has an original design brief very much aligned with our own aspirations. We hope our new facility will significantly help to bring staff, students and the public together as part of a strong artistic community here in Bath.’

Main contractor Willmott Dixon is set to start on site imminently, with construction due to complete next year.

Bath Rugby professional rugby union club recently appointed Grimshaw to design an 18,000-capacity stadium, which will replace the Premiership team’s Recreation Ground.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Robert Park

    I studied Fine Art at Bath Spa in the nineties. The painting studios were below the halls of residence in a beautiful Georgian crescent on Sion Hill, with views across the city, I felt very lucky to live and work there, and was sad to see that the crescent was being developed into market housing when I visited last year. This new building looks very interesting, and I am pleased that Grimshaw has been asked to design a re-use for one of his listed buildings. But it is a shame that young students do not get to paint in Georgian crescents any more.

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