Bath Schools of Art and Design   Bath, UK

Bath Spa University’s Locksbrook Campus is a re-purposing of the Farrell/Grimshaw partnership’s factory for Herman Miller. Originally completed in 1976, it now houses the Schools of Art and Design. The building sits within the World Heritage Site of Bath and was listed Grade II in 2013.

The original brief was for a building that would adapt to changing needs of current and future occupiers, encouraging an open community for people within and those around it. The re-purposing maintains the original ethos whilst enhancing the environment within, dramatically improving the energy performance and safeguarding the building’s future.

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“In the past we had to adapt our practices to suit the building, but now we have a building that doesn’t dictate, but informs how we teach differently. It’s very exciting for the academics.”

Dan Allen, Head of School of Art, Bath Spa University

A central street offers a flexible communal heart with breakout spaces, printing facility, and the café all opening onto it. Entrances at either end connect the city to the riverside with a public café, art shop and gallery to encourage an open and welcoming community.

The rooftop extension offers flexible teaching and event space which hosts regular public events, along with a larger presentation area on the ground floor, meaning that the school has fast become a key part of its local community. The open mezzanine and glazing give views into all workshops, visually connecting the users to inspire and encourage chance encounters and collaboration.

The façade system, an innovative system of modular, interchangeable solid GRP and glazed panels, has been refurbished and retained, and the existing yellow-painted steel structure has also been retained and remains a key feature of the building’s identity.

“It works really well, there’s good interaction. It’s a genuinely nice environment, everyone now talks to everyone. It’s much more collaborative than our previous campus. It helps provide a spark of creativity.”

Student Representative, Bath Spa University

Bath, UK

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