Bath Spa plans for Herman Miller building gets go-ahead

Bath Spa University’s plans to rejuvenate the Herman Miller building for use by Bath School of Art and Design take 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. 

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: “We are delighted with the decision and thank the committee at Bath and North East Somerset Council for their support. We would also like to thank all those who contributed to the public consultation which generated some very useful and positive feedback.

“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.” 

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

The Herman Miller Building has a long economically successful and creative past in the city and this legacy will continue through the relocation of the Bath School of Art and Design. This will be delivered through teaching and research in a number of disciplines, including fine art, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, ceramics, three dimensional design including product design, graphic design, textile design for fashion and interiors, fashion design, drawing, curation, history of art and design and contextual theory.

Richard Scott, Vice President International Operations at Herman Miller, said: “Bath Spa University’s proposals for the building will breathe new life into the beautiful riverside location and support the creative sector in Bath. While the building may not fit the needs of modern industry, Bath Spa University’s proposals are entirely in keeping with the building’s original vision to ‘be able to change with grace, be flexible and non-monumental”.

Next steps will see the grade II-listed building being purchased by the University and work will start on plans for the redesign. The move will see the Bath School of Art and Design move from its current site at Sion Hill, which will remain a core site of the University for other teaching and research.

For more information on the relocation visit www.bathspa.ac.uk/public-consultation

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