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Work has now begun on transforming the former Herman Miller factory into Bath Spa University’s new art and design campus.

The University will now play a significant part in revitalising this Grade II listed building, and creating a new history for this iconic building.

The building will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for the University’s art and design students and plans include modern teaching facilities, practical workshops, studios, a gallery space, as well as a café and art shop. A new rooftop pavilion will add a third storey to the building providing additional space for reflective and collaborative project working.

The outside of the building will also undergo major refurbishment and an injection of cash is being put towards a landscaping project which will see the area surrounding the site being significantly enhanced and upgraded.

The construction will be completed in the summer of 2019 and students will start to use the building from September 2019.

Developments and updates

Our plans

Vision

The factory building was designed by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw for Herman Miller, the American furniture manufacturers in 1976.

It is our goal to create an environment that:

  • Encourages an open community and fortuitous encounter
  • Welcomes all
  • Is kind to the user
  • Changes with grace
  • Is person-scaled
  • Is subservient to human activity
  • Forgives mistakes in planning
  • Enables this community (in the sense that an environment can), to continually reach towards its potential
  • Is a contribution to the landscape as an aesthetic and human value
  • Meets the needs we perceive
  • Is open to surprise
  • Is comfortable with conflict
  • Has flexibility, is non-precious and non-monumental

In our planning we should know that:

  • Our needs will change
  • The scale of the operation will change
  • Things about us will change
  • We will change

The site has always been a place of ‘making’ and the University will continue that tradition through our philosophy of thinking through making. The building was designed as an adaptable space that can ‘change with grace’ to meet the needs of its users, so this project will give it a new purpose.

As a factory used by Herman Miller, it is part of Bath’s industrial history. Bath School of Art and Design plays a significant part in Bath’s creative industries and so will create a new history for this iconic building.

Design

We have appointed Grimshaw Architects to design the building, which is especially fitting because they designed the original and understand its structure, heritage, significance and potential.

Below is a proposal for how the building will be used inside. This design idea called the 'making spine,' features fixed workshops with studio space surrounding them. On the ground floor there will also be some shared, open spaces and some offices.

A first floor mezzanine will run along three sides of the building, maximising space and with ample headroom for studios. The architects are designing a space that will be adaptable to meet the changing needs of our Bath School of Art and Design as we develop. It is therefore essential that the building allows us to be flexible in our use of the space available.

 

 

Timeline

We are working with the Council on our plans to convert the former furniture factory, and we hope to begin building work in the summer of 2017.

Latest news

Bath Spa University appoint Willmott Dixon to transform the former Herman Miller factory building

Architectural rendering of the internal space in Bath Spa University's Locksbrook Road campus on the site of the former Herman Miller factory, showing workshops in use on the first floor mezzanine.

Bath Spa University has appointed leading construction company Willmott Dixon to transform the former Herman Miller factory building on Locksbrook Road into a new art and design campus for its Bath School of Art and Design.

The new building will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for the University’s art and design students.

Professor Anita Taylor, Executive Dean of Bath School of Art and Design, said: “Heritage, environmental solutions and sustainability are at the heart of both Bath Spa University’s and Willmott Dixon’s approach to this project and we are delighted to be working with them on our exciting new building.

“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 art and design community here in Bath.”

During the planning process there has been active engagement with heritage groups, including the 20th Century Society and Bath Preservation Trust, as well as the Heritage Officer at BANES, to ensure the building has been designed sympathetically and in accordance with its Grade II listed status.

The new campus will breathe new life into the local area with significant investment into landscaping the surrounding area, as well as improving the cycle route and pedestrian pathway which runs alongside the building and River Avon.

Anita continues: “We want our building to provide an environment that welcomes a diverse range of people. The move to Locksbrook Road offers an opportunity to enhance the School’s relationship with the community by further fostering a symbiotic relationship between the school and the industries it serves.

“Once opened we will be welcoming local people into our building - whether it’s to visit one of our many art exhibitions and to make use of the café – we’ll also be offering a range of short courses for the public and we’re in talks with local businesses on ways we can work together once the building opens in 2019.”

Neal Stephens, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon said: “We are delighted to be working with Bath Spa University to deliver the next chapter in the life of this significant building in Bath. Utilising our wealth of University building experience, we will work closely with our partners to deliver this project in a sustainable and responsible way, and it is a pleasure to be working with a University that shares these principles.

“We will also support the University’s vision to bring together the local community through the building, by developing and delivering a plan of community engagement that leaves a lasting legacy that extends beyond the building itself.”

 

Bath Spa University students to bring art-itecture to local community


Bath Spa University’s Bath School of Art and Design partnered with European manufacturers of high quality wood flooring, Hakwood, to design, create and install a one-off interactive public installation in five days.

The challenge, which was undertaken by 20 Bath Spa students studying Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object, saw 5 tonnes of birch ply upcycled to create a temporary structure for the local public to interact and engage with. The structure was installed outside the University’s new campus, Locksbrook Road.

Julia Keyte, Course Leader, BA Hons Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object said:

“Our aim is that this challenge not only brings our course community together but that it further connects us all with our local community."

 

Bath and North East Somerset Council support the University’s proposals


Bath Spa’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.

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.

 

Report shows positive economic impact of students in Bath


A report by Oxford Economics, commissioned by Bath Spa University, has revealed the University generated a value-added contribution of £93.9 million to the Bath and North East Somerset economy throughout 2014/15. This significant figure is equivalent to 2 percent of the district’s economic output.

In the same period, the University has supported over 2,050 jobs in the area, with the University itself employing over 966 people, making it the fifth largest employer in Bath and North East Somerset.

The study also found that over the past five years, the number of regional jobs within the creative sector has increased by approximately 11.5 percent, a significantly higher rate than many other sectors, such as manufacturing which has seen a decline of around 16 percent.

With more than 60 percent of all creative jobs being filled by graduates, the increase in employment figures and the economic power of the sector highlights the importance of providing access to high-quality creative education through institutions such as Bath Spa University.

Read or download the full report.

Get involved

Are you a local resident, current student, member of staff, or you may be thinking about coming to Bath Spa to study in the future?

We’re keen to hear what you think about our project, and any suggestions or further questions you may have.

Email: locksbrook@bathspa.ac.uk

Frequently asked questions

Why does Bath Spa University need a new building?

Our Bath School of Art and Design is located at Sion Hill in the centre of Bath. This building was not designed as a school of art and design, but we have adapted and made the space our own.

The new building on Locksbrook Road gives us the opportunity to design a space that better meets our needs and co-locates more of our provision. This particular building was selected because of its central location, proximity to student accommodation on Lower Bristol Road and Oldfield Park. The cycle path to our Newton Park campus also abuts the site.

The building is Grade II listed and a wonderful example of British High Tech Movement architecture. Bath School of Art and Design will rejuvenate this iconic building, give it a new purpose and act as custodians for its next incarnation.

Why did you choose this building on Locksbrook Road?

This building was designed by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 1976. Some of the phrases in the original brief include:

  • Encourages an open community
  • Has flexibility, is non-precious and non-monumental
  • Is a contribution to the landscape
  • Welcomes all
  • Is kind to the user
  • Changes with grace
  • Is open to surprise
  • Meets the needs we perceive
  • Enables this community to reach its potential

The building was designed as an adaptable space that can ‘change with grace’ to meet the needs of its users, so this project will give it a new purpose. As a factory used by furniture manufacturers, Herman Miller, it is part of Bath’s industrial history. Bath School of Art and Design plays a significant part in Bath’s creative industries and so will create a new history for this iconic building.

It is in a central location and close to student accommodation on Lower Bristol Road and Oldfield Park. As a former factory used by Herman Miller, it is part of Bath’s industrial history. The University will now play a significant part in revitalising this Grade II listed site, and creating a new history for this iconic building.

What are you planning to do with the building?

We have appointed Grimshaw Architects to design the building, which is especially fitting because they designed the original and understand its structure, heritage, significance and potential.

Below is a proposal for how the building will be used inside. This design idea called the 'making spine,' features fixed workshops with studio space surrounding them. On the ground floor there will also be some shared, open spaces and some offices.

A first floor mezzanine will run along three sides of the building, maximising space and with ample headroom for studios. The architects are designing a space that will be adaptable to meet the changing needs of our Bath School of Art and Design as we develop. It is therefore essential that the building allows us to be flexible in our use of the space available.

What will go where is still to be determined, but this design maximises available space and creates a building that better meets our needs going forward.

What will move to the new building?

The plan is to move most of Bath School of Art and Design into the building.

When will the new building open?

The construction will be completed in the summer of 2019 and students will start to use the building from September 2019.

Are students currently using the building?

No. Building work has now begun on the site. 

What transport provision do you have?

As part of the project a full transport plan will be developed. This will look at parking, bus services, cycle routes and pedestrian access. We are improving the cycle route and pedestrian pathway which runs alongside the building and River Avon.

We encourage staff and students to use public transport wherever possible and not to park on the streets surrounding the building.

Will there be security at the new building?

Security will continue to be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When everything is moved, what will you use your Sion Hill campus for?

This is still to be determined, but Sion Hill will still be very much a part of Bath Spa University’s teaching and research activities.

How can I get involved?

We will be sharing regular updates throughout the project on this website.

There will be consultation throughout the process with current students and staff.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the new campus by emailing: Locksbrook@bathspa.ac.uk

Some things are still to be determined, so please bear in mind we might not have an answer to everything.

  

Campus address

Bath School of Art and Design, Locksbrook Rd, Bath, BA1 3EL

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