Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus, Wells

The composition of elements is almost painterly

Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus
Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus Credit: Max Creasy

Feilden Fowles for Charlie Bigham’s
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 7,860 m²

As the first phase of an ambitious 20-year masterplan for the redevelopment of Dulcote Quarry to create a food production campus, this building sets a direction of travel, with a quality working environment and a bespoke production line ready for growth. From a brief which demanded exceptional standards for only a modest extra cost to a typical factory, the architect has produced a playful building which responds to site context, brief and historic industrial archetypes. It masterfully mediates between the primacy of the process and the wellbeing of the workforce – attracting talent is critical.

  • Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus
    Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus Credit: Max Creasy
  • Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus
    Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus Credit: Max Creasy
  • Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus
    Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus Credit: Max Creasy
  • Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus
    Charlie Bigham's Food Production Campus Credit: Max Creasy
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The building adopts a traditional factory roof of asymmetric pitches with north lights, spanning more than 40m. Above the plinth, volume is expressed as two parts differentiated by colour and scale: The ochre and red of the upper levels respond to the striated rock face of the quarry. One corner is eroded to create a terrace and framed by a quirky asymmetric entrance tower. Servicing requirements are unselfconsciously accommodated in a calm assemblage – while hard to define as architecture, the composition of elements is almost painterly. Internal production spaces are tightly regulated in materials and detail. In the most densely populated areas the form is adapted to give views out. In common areas and offices, materials and details are generous – an oak framed and lined screen mediates between open plan workspace and meeting rooms, terminating in a centrally located test kitchen with inviting refectory table. This building demonstrates the added value that client ambition and architectural ingenuity can bring – as a statement of intent for an employer new to the area, whose brand is bound up with quality, the building is an excellent advocate.

RIBA South West Building of the Year sponsored by Artifice Press

See the other winners in the RIBA regional awards - South West

 

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