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Artist's impression of new art and design campus

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Work begins on transforming former Herman Miller factory into Bath Spa University’s new art and design campus

Monday, 29 January, 2018

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.

A ground breaking ceremony was held to mark the start of the refurbishment work of this iconic Grade II listed building. The new building will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for the University’s art and design students.

Plans for the building 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.

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 Bath and North East Somerset Council (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.”

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

Keep up to date with progress at www.bathspa.ac.uk/locksbrookroad.

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