Bath Spa University Development Plans - Herman Miller Building

March 2016: Approval for relocation of Bath Spa University’s Bath School of Art and Design

Bath Spa University’s plans to rejuvenate the Herman Miller building for use by Bath School of Art and Design have taken a major step forward.

Proposals to change the use of the premises to enable the University to relocate its Bath School of Art and Design to the iconic building were submitted in October 2015 to Bath and North East Somerset Council and with an officer recommendation for approval, the planning resolved to grant consent at Development Control committee on 9 March 2016.

The building, which is the former location of furniture manufacturers Herman Miller, is situated on the Locksbrook Road Industrial Estate in Bath. The firm moved out in 2015 because the building no longer met their needs and it has remained vacant since.

Herman Miller building located on the Locksbrook Road Industrial Estate

Bath Spa University’s plans will transform the building into a vibrant art and design campus, saving it from potential dereliction, reviving local surroundings and providing the perfect platform for creative growth to continue in the city.

Professor Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University, said:

“We are delighted with the decision and thank the committee at Bath and North East Somerset Council for their support. We would also like to thank all those who contributed to the public consultation which generated some very useful and positive feedback.

“The Herman Miller building will be revived as an academic incubator for the creative industries, fostering design thinking, entrepreneurial exploration, technological and skills development, and innovation in art and design. This decision means a secure future for an iconic building in Bath and promises to be a wonderful location for our students to learn.

“We are committed to working with the Council and local community to ensure our design plans benefit all parties and understand the need to be sympathetic to this iconic building.”

Related Information

November 2015: Overwhelming Local Support for Bath Spa University’s Proposed Move

The public consultation open day saw more than 130 visitors support proposals to move the Bath School of Art and Design to former Herman Miller building.

More than 130 local residents and businesses visited the former Herman Miller building on the Locksbrook Road on Saturday, (November 21 2015) to offer support for Bath Spa University’s proposal to move the School of Art and Design to the vacated former furniture manufacturing site.

Herman Miller moved its operation out of Bath earlier this year saying at the time that: “the building and its location no longer fit the needs of modern industry.” They left the Grade II Listed building in need of new tenants.

Bath Spa University has earmarked the site as being an ideal location for its Bath School of Art and Design to be used for academic space that includes technical workshops, studio space, teaching and office space.

The proposed plans hope to rejuvenate the beautiful building and its surroundings.

Neil Latham, Chief Operating Officer at Bath Spa University, welcomed guests on the day and shared the University’s vision with local residents, Councillors and businesses. He said: “We had a fantastic turnout and were kept busy from the moment the doors opened. The support on the day was very encouraging.

“Our proposals would breathe new life into this wonderful building, already known for its design innovation through the works of Herman Miller, by making it a place of inspired study.”

Original architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, designer of London’s Waterloo International railway station, The Eden Project, and who was also involved with the Thermae Bath Spa building project has also given his blessing for the building to house the Bath School of Art and Design.

Grimshaw Architects has already worked up designs to demonstrate how the proposals will capture the original 1970s brief to be a ‘flexible and adaptive building,’ and how it will add to the beautiful riverside setting.

Bath Spa University held the open day for local residents and businesses to show them the proposals for the building and to encourage questions about the potential impact locally.

Mr Latham added:

“If we are granted a change of use from industrial to educational we will continue to liaise with our neighbours throughout the whole process. They have already started to tell us how they think it will benefit the area and the feedback on the day will be invaluable as we progress with our proposals.”

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