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Wilkinson Eyre and Dyson change plans in Bath after conservationist pressure - images

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Wilkinson Eyre and leading entrepreneur James Dyson appear to be on the brink of a U-turn over the designs of the Dyson School of Design Innovation, a new city academy planned for Bath.

The pair had planned to demolish the Newark Works, an unlisted building by Thomas Fuller, a British-born architect who went on to achieve fame in North America, to make way for the new school ( Boffin James Dyson heads for conservation row in Bath).

But now, after heavy pressure from conservationists, Wilkinson Eyre has drawn up an alternative scheme for the school that will involve the retention of the key facade.

The project's backers, who include Dyson, are also facing the possibility that the building might be facing spot-listing.

Some of the most impassioned opposition to the demolition plans came from Canadian conservationists. Fuller is seen as a far more important architectural figure in North America than he is in Britain - he designed the first Canadian Parliament in Ottawa and the New York State capitol in Albany.

A joint statement from Wilkinson Eyre and Dyson said: 'The James Dyson Foundation remains committed to the educational plans for the Dyson School of Design Innovation.

'Since plans for the Dyson School were announced in July, one of the buildings on the site in Bath - known as the Newark Works - has been recommended for spot-listing by English Heritage.

'As a result of these developments, the James Dyson Foundation is working with project architect Wilkinson Eyre to look at how a potentially listed facade might be accommodated on site alongside the Dyson School. The team is also exploring a modified design for the school.

'It is expected that the spot-listing of the Newark Works building and the necessary redesign will delay the project by an academic year,' the statement adds.

by Ed Dorrell

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