The Foundry, Leamington Spa, English Architecture, Building, Images, Page / Park Architects
The Foundry Leamington Spa
Midlands Office Building Development, England – by Page / Park Architects
14 Oct 2010
The Foundry Leamington Spa
Leamington Spa Office Development
Design: Page / Park Architects
Understanding the Context
The heart of Leamington Spa, in comparison with many of our towns, has had a relatively short history. But in that short time it is a model of how a new civil and sophisticated environment can be created. This formal quality is of course represented in the individual buildings, but equally significant is the way they come together in the layout of the town to create this clear and rich impression of grandeur overlaid the infrastructure of river, rail and canal – a counter-weave through the town. And it is in the mastering of the intersections between these two aspects that distinctive contributions have been made to the town, such as at the Pumphouse and Lansdowne Crescent.
The more recent infrastructure of roads has added a less auspicious formal legacy to the town. In the vision to develop the most westerly edge of the Foundry site for offices, along the Old Warwick Road, we have asked if this might not be an opportunity to redress this aspect of the town’s development, and thereby distinctively mark the beginning of the developments contribution to the towns future.
By considering the site, extended to embrace the setting of the roundabout approach, we suggest a three-prong strategy of enhancement:
– At pedestrian level to promote the idea of an attractive pedestrian route linking all the pedestrian crossings circum-navigating the setting of the roundabout ie. to design the landscape setting around the pedestrian and not the car
– In that landscape form to link the four quadrants of the roundabout, the canal side, car parking, retail and the setting of your new offices.
– To treat the office form as a distinctive urban marker for that new urban setting – a marker that both addresses this gateway point to the town but also the sweeps around into Old Warwick Road and Princes Drive.
First Thoughts about the Office design
Our first ideas for the new offices, as a result, have taken the form of two semi-circular segments, set counterpoint to each other:
– one concave, addressing the roundabout, and framing the entry along the Old Warwick Road into the retail site.
– and the other, convex behind the first, taking up the sweep into Princes Drive.
Between the overlap of the two curves is a link between the two wings. The main entrance is to be formed on the side facing the supermarket and has a colonnaded link to the car park. The hard landscaping treatment at the entrance will link over to the supermarket, creating the feel of an entrance courtyard.
The development adopts two heights, one height of five storeys to the concave face of the roundabout and the other a three-storey plinth, which curves to meet Princes Drive and the scale of potential decked parking to the north.
A number of intentions have been considered namely:
– The main vertical circulation riser will be within the five-storey block with staircases at either extremity for escape.
– A number of subdivisions are possible with in each block.
– We would like to aspire to a naturally ventilated building and the block widths we are suggesting accord with that. In setting the building back we have more chance of a creating a reasonable environment to the road
The Architectural Idea
We have asked ourselves can we in some way hint or anticipate the delights of the town to come by introducing a concept of civic pedestrian quality that blends the idea of an influence around the roundabout and shapes the office building too. We have given this concept the working title of ‘Arcade’, deliberately evoking the idea of a relationship with the famous ‘Leamington Parade’ but in a distinctive manner fronting the development project as a whole. To help achieve this we have considered setting back the lower two storeys of the ground floor facing the roundabout to form an arcade and see its forecourt as an urban space perhaps defined by urban hedges and formal paving. The offices to this frontage arcade would then have the potential to have a face to the street.
It would then be that spirit introduced by the arcade that would be extended around the roundabout, an echo of the juxtaposition we find so pleasant in the town of big walls and delightful details in the porches and loggias.
The Foundry image / information from Page / Park Architects
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University of Warwick Student Residences
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Midlands Building – Recent Design:
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