Iconic Herman Miller Factory to Become Bath School of Art and Design

BATH, England — It’s back to the future for Grimshaw, the architectural firm founded by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 1980 with half a dozen offices throughout the world. Before he started working under his own, one-name imprimatur, Sir Nick was with Farrell & Grimshaw Architects where he designed an industrial facility for the Herman Miller furniture company back in 1976. Now, he’s been asked to revisit the once future-forward structure and convert it into a design school for Bath Spa University.

Bath School of Art & Design Brings Grimshaw Full Circle

The building is considered an important early work of the celebrated Grimshaw — an early work with all the hallmarks of the then-nascent British high-tech wave that swept the isles in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

The repurposed landmark will be redubbed the Bath School of Art and Design and will keep many of its more distinctive features, including Grimshaw’s signature facade. On the inside, however, it will be retrofitted to accommodate a slew of university needs, including teaching facilities, workshops, art studios, an art gallery and store, and, perhaps most importantly, a cafe. Additionally, a “new rooftop pavilion” will be added, according to the a statement from the university, which quoted the school’s executive dean, Anita Taylor:

“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.”

Construction is slated to warp next year under the direction of U.K. contractor Willmott Dixon.

Grimshaw, which operates worldwide with offices in London, New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Dubai, Doha and Kuala Lumpur, boasts a portfolio that covers all major sectors. It’s been honored with more than 150 international design awards including the prestigious Lubetkin Prize.

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