Don’t fence me in

The riverbank fencing that surrounds part of the old Herman Miller factory building concerns Guy Hodgson, who writes:

“Such a shame to see Bath Spa School of Art (formerly Herman Miller furniture makers) still draped in ugly construction fencing. Not only is it unattractive, but it jars hideously with the design philosophy of the building. 

The building was cutting edge at the time, having more in common with the Lloyds Building in London (part of the High Tech architectural movement) then it does to Georgian Bath. The architect Nicholas Grimshaw, only starting out on what would be a stellar career, was working to a brief from the business owner Max De Pree. This came to be known as the ‘Bath Brief’, here is an extract:

‘It is our goal to create an environment that:

  • Encourages and open community and fortuitous encounter 
  • Welcomes all
  • Is a contribution to the landscape of aesthetic and human value’

It is hard to see how those lofty aspirations are being met, all the more surprising when one considers the building now houses artists and designers, the ‘woke liberal lefties’. Grimshaw and De Pree certainly saw saw things differently, as the latter recalled…

“Grimshaw told Max that even though Herman Miller owned the property along the river, they didn’t own the river.  Everyone who lived in Bath had the right to enjoy it. That’s why, says Max, we never minded the fishermen using the chairs we kept outside the building on the riverbank” 

Time perhaps to remove fences rather than build them? 

A full article can be read here on the ‘Bath Brief’. Incidentally, Grimshaw Architects are currently engaged in Bath again, this time at the Gasworks Development. Let’s hope they do the riverbank justice one again! “

I have passed your remarks onto Bath Spa University’s press office for any comment they want to make.

Further to that, l have just received the following email from Roger Houghton who writes:

‘Still not managed to registered with your comment system! I was just going to mention that there’s a planning application pending (20/04379/FUL) which includes “the installation of new fencing along the riverside boundary”. (A plastic post and rail fence is proposed!) It says comments closed but in my experience they will always be accepted up to the moment of decision.’