Bath buildings shortlisted for prestigious RIBA regional award

June 12, 2020

Three buildings from the Bath area – a new university campus, a community hub and an architects’ office – are in the running for a major regional architecture award.

Bath Spa University’s Locksbrook Campus, the community hub at the city’s Mulberry Park housing development and architecture firm Stonewood Design’s office in Corsham are among the 13 projects shortlisted from 40 entries for this year’s RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) South West Awards. 

The prestigious accolades recognise buildings across the region that have made a significant contribution to architecture – with the winner considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of its architectural excellence.

RIBA South West regional director Jon Watkins said the awards had again brought out the best in architects from across the UK and Europe.

“This year’s shortlist offers quality, diversity of type and scale, excellence in design, and lots of delight,” he added.

Bath Spa University’s Locksbrook Campus, pictured above and below, left, was originally designed in 1976 by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw for US furniture manufacturer Herman Miller.

It has been converted into a multimillion-pound, state-of-the-art campus offering the university’s art and design students enviable educational facilities, including flexible studio spaces, workshops and open areas designed to foster creativity and collaborative working.

Bath Spa worked with global design practice Grimshaw and construction firm Willmott Dixon to ensure many historical features were kept in the redesign to maintain its Grade-II listed status. 

Bath Spa University head of art Dr Dan Allen described it as a stunning building where students can hone their skills and flourish in a modern and well-thought-out space.

“It’s an incredible achievement for us all,” he said. “We talk a lot about ‘thinking through making’, so right from the outset, we placed students and their creative practice at the centre of the design.

“Positioning the impressive workshop facilities in the heart of the building provides focused support from specialist art and design technicians and the ability for students to move seamlessly between materials and processes.”

Grimshaw principal Ben Heath added: “We worked closely with staff and students at Bath Spa during this project to understand how a new space could enhance teaching and learning opportunities and we couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out.

“The existing listed building’s design principle resonated perfectly with the university’s ethos, delivering an open and collaborative environment, but above all a flexible space which will continue to adapt to its user’s future needs.”

The Mulberry Park community hub, pictured right, was designed by BDP as a beacon for the local community and the centrepiece of the new Mulberry Park residential development on the former Foxhill MoD site.

The project combines a 210-pace primary school, nursery and community facilities including a café, fitness suite, multi-functional spaces and enterprise space.

Health facilities located in a more private location on the first floor next to a breakout space allows a variety of outreach health services to be provided.

The brief and design was developed with local community groups and fronts a new public square.

BDP said the striking cantilevered forms of the building take inspiration from the Mulberry Harbours that were used during the Second World War. The selected brick reflects the tone and texture of Bath stone that define the character of the area while copper alloy cladding has been used to highlight the beacon elements of the building.

Stonewood Design’s Grade II listed office building – now known as Delicious House, pictured left – in the conservation area of Corsham High Street dates from the 17th &18th centuries and was originally part of a malthouse.

During the 20th century it became the Corsham Corn Store but was then gutted in the mid-1980s and most recently was a Chinese takeaway.  

Stonewood began work on the building, which was structurally in very poor condition, in 2017 with the aim of creating a permanent base for its growing architectural practice.

In previous years the award judges visit each shortlisted project in person, but due to Covid-19, the judging process for the awards this year is on hold.

The winner is expected to be announced later in the year. Other shortlisted projects include Tintagel Castle Footbridge in Cornwall, Stonewood Design’s The Story of Gardening at the Newt hotel near Castle Cary, and the extension of Bristol’s St George’s concert venue.

Photo of Mulberry Park community hub © Nick Hufton




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