ARCHITECTURE MASTERCLASS - III

Introduced by Brett Greatorex on 9 March 1998

Brett Greatorex had selected two architectural projects carried out by his local practice located in Walcot Street to describe in some depth. The projects he had chosen demonstrated that most design work undertaken by architects is limited by the restrictions imposed by the client. He emphasised the need to work closely with clients in the developmental state to ensure that the needs and desires of the clients emerged before the planning application was submitted.
The first project presented to illustrate practical design considerations was St. Bartholomew's Church Hall, Oldfield Park. The church itself was originally designed in 1908, constructed in 1938, bombed during World War II and then rebuilt in the 1950s. Through a number of slides, he pointed out the various decisions required for the project and then what solutions were found.
The second project was the Car Showroom for Hinton Garage located on the Upper Bristol Road. With this building, he wanted to soften the impact, reduce the advertising logos and lettering while keeping the building costs down. During the discussion he was asked why he didn't use computer-generated plans. He felt that the number of decisions that have to be taken to produce a computer-generated plan often reduces the input from the clients at the initial stage. There were several questions on Walcot Street plans, but he wanted to study the briefs before commenting. Some alternative suggestions were made about design for car showrooms that incorporated a greater emphasis on workmanship.
He closed by regretting that planning officers had so little time at the preliminary stage to give attention to projects and in the long run much time was wasted. Bath is a unique city, he said, and its integrity requires that long-range decisions be taken, rather than mere expediency.
Betty Suchar