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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1395150



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Bath and North East Somerset

District Type: Unitary Authority


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 04-May-2007

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Oct-2010

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 510566

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.



Former Cabinet Makers Factory



A factory built in 1966-1967 to designs by Brian Henderson, a partner in the firm Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall. PLAN: The building is a single storey structure, three bays wide and eight bays long, of 250 ft by 430 ft and was planned as a single envelope (57,000 square feet) for the assembly, polishing, storage and dispatch of furniture. MATERIALS: The building is constructed of a steel Mero space frame combined with glass, aluminium, asbestos and engineering bricks. EXTERIOR: The roof, which is a space frame with a structural bay of 48 ft square and 4 ft feet deep is made up of steel tubes at 45 degrees to the horizontal and joined by spherical connectors. The frame itself comprises an external steel frame of 10" by 10" sections, with the exposed structural steel columns shot blasted and zinc treated. The building is clad in natural grey asbestos sheets with a black neoprene joint, with a band of clerestory patent glazing with silver anodised aluminium frames. The building rests on a plinth of engineering bricks. The factory's landscaping comprises a parking area for circa 100 cars and a staff picnic area on the bank of the River Avon, planted with birch trees. INTERIOR: The Mero space frame is fully exposed and two rows of slender internal columns are made of pre-cast polished concrete. The ground slab is in thick reinforced concrete with a power float finished surface. The use of grey, white and black colours throughout the building (now painted over in parts) is a consistent piece of its design. HISTORY: A new factory was built for the firm Bath Cabinet Makers (BCM), between August 1966 and July 1967, to designs by the architect Brian Henderson, a partner in the firm of Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall (YRM). BCM were specialist manufacturers of office furniture, and from 1959 produced the 'Formation Furniture' range designed by Brian Henderson. The new factory was built adjacent to their existing factory in Bath (no longer standing). YRM had a lot of experience in designing commercial and industrial buildings: other commissions undertaken by them include influential projects such as Gatwick Airport, 1955, and the Boots D90 building in Nottingham (qv) for which BCM had manufactured the furniture. The site for the BCM Factory was landscaped by Dando and Dark. In 1968 the building received the Financial Times Industrial Architecture Award and in 1969 a Civic Trust Commendation. In the 1970s BCM became 'Herman Miller', who in 1975 built another factory building opposite it on the other side of the River Avon, designed by Farrell and Grimshaw.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The former BCM Factory in Bath, built in 1966-67 to designs by the architect Brian Henderson, a partner in the notable firm of Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall (YRM), is the first building in Britain to use Mero space frame technology, one of the first widely commercially available space grid systems invented in Germany in the 1940s. The building is also an example of the early use of neoprene in parts of its external cladding and pre-fabricated patent glazing. The innovative, cost-effective, functional design and architectural detailing of the BCM factory, influenced by contemporary American industrial architecture and adopting the style and idiom of the architect Mies van der Rohe, was very well received and awarded at the time. Its social historic interest lies in the fact that the design and layout of the factory, which is flexible, light and moves away from the historic separation of workers area and managers office, is a clear expression of the general post-war search for better working standards.

SOURCES: Architects' Journal (18 October 1967), p 934 Building (8 March 1968), pp 89-92 Industrial Architecture (June 1968), pp 275-276 Bauen und Wohnen (July 1968), pp 250-252 Architectural Review (November 1968), pp 372-376 Baumeister (April 1969), pp 414-415 R Banham, The Architecture of YRM 1944-1972 (1972) A Powers, In the Line of Development: FRS Yorke, E Rosenberg and CS Mardall to YRM (1992), p 68 J Chilton, Space Grid Structures (1999) M Forsyth [Pevsner Architectural Guides], Bath, p 293-294 Nash Partnership, Overview of the case for adding the former BCM Factory (latterly Herman Miller) to the statutory list of buildings of architectural and historic interest, April 2006 E Harwood, English Heritage research report on the former BCM Factory, April 2006

Listing NGR: ST7315364762

Selected Sources

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details

National Grid Reference: ST 73153 64762


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End of official listing