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Bath Western Riverside

2014 - 2018

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Nature rarely produces straight lines, and introducing a language of curves for these two eight-storey buildings softens their form and reduces their visual impact.
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Nature rarely produces straight lines, and introducing a language of curves for these two eight-storey buildings softens their form and reduces their visual impact.

Strategy

Bath is the most complete and best-preserved Georgian city in Britain, and in 1987 it became a Unesco World Heritage site. Conservation bodies don’t always welcome new development, yet our experience in Bath proved otherwise: the city embraced a truly contemporary approach for this riverside site.

Location:
Bath, UK
Client:
Crest Nicholson
Role:
Design Architect
Status:
Completed 2018
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On the south bank of the River Avon and just a short walk from the city’s historic centre, our buildings for developer Crest Nicholson – Royal View and Sovereign Point – are set within Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ wider masterplan for this former industrial site.

They act as ‘gatehouses’ at the crossing points over the River Avon, against the backdrop of the other, more rectilinear, buildings of the masterplan.

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Whilst the two pavilions occupy different sites, they have been designed together, with a similar (but not identical) set of parameters shaping their design.
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We wanted to ensure that our buildings would both respect the historic character of Bath and yet be distinct, and we thought very carefully about the way the buildings sit in the landscape and respond to their shared surroundings – the bridges, the river, the new Elizabeth Park designed by Grant Associates, and the heritage landmarks in the distance. But each ‘pavilion’, one on each side of the park, has its own very specific location in mind.

Specificity

Embracing curves was our natural response to the site. Nature rarely produces straight lines, and introducing a language of curves and setbacks for these two eight-storey buildings softens their form and helps reduce their visual impact. The design of each is contemporary, but both are faced with Bath stone, the city’s dominant historic material.

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A dash of orange tiles in the balconies’ recesses helps to break the solemnity of the stone and is a reference to the rusty stains found in the city’s Roman baths. And the design of the balustrades, which gives the buildings a contrasting detail, is inspired by the historical Victoria Bridge close by. On the top of each building, a roof garden appears as a ‘green crown’ that can be seen from afar, while vertical walls at ground-floor level soften the experience of passing between inside and outside.

Bath Western Riverside Studio Egret West Image
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Each of the two pavilions has a central atrium. On the ground floor, this gives the buildings an immediate feeling of both light and space, drawing residents into the lobby and providing a direct link with the sky above. The atrium also creates internal balconies and walkways leading to each home.

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Sometimes the curve rather than a straight line is a far better tool at bedding in a new proposed mass within the geometry of a given site. Like patterns of nature, we often find greater efficiency, as well as memorable elegance, in introducing the organic fluidity of a curve.”
Christophe Egret
Founding Director at Studio Egret West
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Sustainability

The pavilions nestle within the landscape, intertwined with the park just outside and with the river that snakes by. By adding living walls, roof gardens, and greenery we’re blurring the distinction between landscape and building – which is good for biodiversity, good for local wildlife, and good for people.

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Our designs foster wellbeing and the feeling of community. There are shared facilities, including a gym and a café, on the ground floor of both buildings, and the bright open space at the heart of each, along with the walkways and other communal spaces, encourages chance encounters and interaction between residents. We’ve recently heard that a community group has sprung up, which suggests that our design is providing exactly the sense of togetherness we intended.

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Team