12.02.21 - The Importance of Context

A UNESCO World Heritage site within an iconic city landscape; the early stages of site research have begun for a new project in Bath. In conducting our research, we take an in-depth approach to understanding the existing building and its history, alongside the context of the local streetscape and the wider city, striving to produce a sensitive and high quality proposal.

Surrounded by major heritage sites, the building sits at the junction between two key city routes. This boundary highlights the importance of the South facade, the face of this junction. The building acts as an architectural boundary between the two pedestrian routes of Old Bond Street and Burton Street. The neighbouring streets highlight a clear rhythm, in terms of facade design, with Georgian details and vibrant, traditional, and contemporary shop fronts lining both routes. A careful application of materials and consideration of space will prove essential in elevating the space within such a context. 

Context is an element that can be often overlooked particularly in retail settings, however a retail experience relies upon an identity and user experience, two elements of importance in both contextual and design narrative. A need for a sense of connection, which in turn can amplify and bring clarity to the overall retail experience.

We are keen to explore taking the building’s internal layout back towards a pre-war arrangement. In doing this, we can access ideas of renewed use and practicality of spaces, in terms of its reanimation, but also its heritage value and authenticity. This arrangement will assist in maximising the relationship between the street, and the staircase in particular, in order to create a cohesive experience of spaces. 

Context grounds an idea in reality and is a prime design tool at both the research and design stages. A street’s unique quality and character can act as our guide through a city and such features like a clock face act as pivotal moments within this journey, placing the building within the wider historic shopping district. 

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