Friday18 August 2017

Make forced to redesign controversial Bath supermarket

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Conservationists still not satisfied despite retention of historic facade

Make has been forced to redesign a controversial £50 million project for Tesco in Bath because of protests from heritage campaigners.

But the reworked scheme has still been branded “clumsy and unsatisfactory” by objectors.

Make was hired by Tesco and developer St James Investments to create a 4,000 sq m store on the site of an industrial building previously occupied by the Bath Press.

The scheme, which the developer and council have promoted as a regeneration  initiative, also contains 3,000 sq m of office space, 4,500 sq m of creative work units, plus 10 houses.

After local protests Make offered to retain the distinctive 1930s facade and chimney stack. It plans to turn the facade into a screen for public art, attached to the new development by steel bars across a footpath.

The Bath Preservation Trust welcomed the original features’ retention but said the steel frame was “unnecessarily bulky and obtrusive” and would detract from the art.

Save Britain’s Heritage reacted with “amused disbelief” to the new design, which it said “presents a clumsy and unsatisfactory solution which fails to integrate the retained façade into the new supermarket in any meaningful way”.

But Justin Nicholls, a partner at Make, defended the new plans.

He told This is Bath: “The design is based upon a series of overlapping parallel stone façades – the historic retained façade, then a series of contemporary façades: supermarket, creative workshops, offices and housing.

“The building elements between these are then infilled with brick in reference to the existing industrial buildings and the Georgian terrace where a presentable public stone façade is backed by a working brick construction.

“This design approach hopefully demonstrates how integral the heritage of the Bath Press has been to us and how important the retained façade is in providing a physical reference to this past while being central in defining a new contemporary character of this site for years to come.”



Readers' comments (22)

  • zecks_marquise

    conservationists are never satisfied. They believe their quest in life is to extoll the virtue of the victorian city. Yeah because there really isn't enough dysentery in English cities today.

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  • Sure this is the right target, zecks?

    When you look around the country and see how much of it is under threat from Make schemes, it begins to feel as if the conservationists might have a point.

    Bath is not short of good practices... one wonders why it was necessary to commission the artillery...

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  • Seems Zecks hasn't much idea about conservation.

    Make, why?

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  • From the renders I am guessing the historic facade is propped up but does nothing functionally? What is it treated as... wallpaper?

    Beyond ugly...this is surely another carbuncle in the waiting!

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  • Whose idea was it to employ Make on a conservation project??!

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  • No sign of the massive Tescos sign in the renders, perhaps perched on top of the retained facade?

    Seems suspiciously like every other supermarket design in this country; generic brick clad box failing to hide behind a gimmicky 'contemporary' stone facade that thinly references the local history.

    A shame they didn't consider one of the good practices in Bath. An even greater shame for the local shops in Oldfield Park.

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  • ah, I was wondering what it was Bath was still missing after it gained its strangely disorientating mock-Georgian shopping centre with sterile "public realm". A Tesco! At least Bath Half Marathon runners will be able to have a sneaky wee behind the retained façade.

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  • What Make have not recognised is that the point of a facade is to be the front of a building. Making it a free-standing structure, a designed-in graffiti wall (which is effectively what a screen for public art is), will never be acceptable anywhere, and certainly not in a World Heritage Site. If Make can't design something fit for Bath, then there are others who can, and who should be given the chance instead.

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  • Nick Pocock

    Seems like Learning From Las Vegas still has its gravitas then

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  • I love KFC

    I live in Bath and quite like this scheme. If you whinging architects think you can do better, then may I suggest that you get try and get Tesco to be on your client list if you are good enough or have the contacts

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