Bath Spa University purchased the former Herman Miller factory on Locksbrook Road in 2016, and over the next few years will transform it into a fantastic new campus for our Bath School of Art and Design.

The building 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 building, and creating a new history for this iconic building.

Our planning application is now live on the B&NES website. Ref number 17/02033/FUL and we would welcome your comments.

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

October 2016

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


Bath Spa University’s School of Art and Design has 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 will be undertaken by 20 Bath Spa students studying Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object, will see 5 tonnes of birch ply upcycled to create a temporary structure for the local public to interact and engage with.

Using the workshop facilities at Bath Spa’s School of Art and Design, the students will explore the form, structure, material and process of design development and construction, in collaboration with London-based design practice, Simon Jones Studio.

The structure will be installed outside the university’s new campus, located along the river Avon on 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 too.”

The wood was gifted by project sponsors Hakwood and was originally used in the Hakfolly installation at Clerkenwell Design Week 2016.


March 2016

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


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.

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:

“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.”


December 2015

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.

Recently recognised by the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport as ‘one of the most powerful tools in driving growth’, the creative sector is currently worth circa £77 billion to the UK economy, generating an impressive £8 million an hour.

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?

To be determined, but we are working with the Council on our plans and hope to commence work on the building in the summer of 2017.

Are students currently using the building?

Yes. We have decided to start using part of the building for teaching, and third year BA (Hons) Graphic Communication students, as well as MA Curatorial Practice, and MA Visual Communication students will be based here until June 2017.

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.

There is some parking on site which can be used in the interim by staff and students if they are working in the building. We expect a parking meter to be installed at some point in early 2017.

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: LocksbrookRoad@bathspa.ac.uk

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

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