THE BATH SPA PROJECT

A Technical Presentation on 5 March 1998
Speakers: Paul Simon - Project Manager, B&NES;
Miriam Fitzpatrick - Nicholas Grimshaw, Project Architects;
Peter Carey- Donald Insoll, Conservation Architects;
Tim Hamilton- Ove Arup, Project Engineers

The BRLSI meeting room was full to hear Paul Simon and the Design Team give a technical presentation on how the ideas for this successful Millennium Project were formulated and how the design work for the project was progressing.
In his introduction, Victor Suchar reminded the audience that in May 1996 after the first Millennium bid (which had included other features besides the Spa) had failed, the participants in a meeting at the Institution chaired by Don Foster MP, had unanimously urged the several councillors and officers present to relaunch the bid for the Spa Project only. It was therefore most appropriate for Paul Simon to return to the Institution to give a report on the work in progress.
Paul Simon assured those present that the commitment and the resources for the Spa Project continued and that the scheme was on schedule for opening in the year 2000.
Miriam Fitzpatrick explained how the design team want to enliven the area where the Spa was located and to draw people into the Spa complex. Lighting and resurfacing were two important tools in their plans. Through a variety of slides, she showed how the spa water would be available on a variety of levels leading to a roof-top pool at a height which linked it to the green hills surrounding Bath.
Peter Carey revealed how the Baths in the Spa Project area had developed over time from 1775 when the Council first approached John Wood the Younger to build the Hot Bath. The cube dimension featured in the Millennium Spa Scheme is similar to that of the John Wood design.
Energy conservation is an important element in the complex. Tim Hamilton explained how a comfortable environment for bathing would be achieved with the minimum possible use of energy. Another objective is to use the water in as natural a state as possible, although some filtering and disinfection will be necessary. Paul Simon concluded the meeting by saying how pleased he was that public opinion overwhelmingly supported the modern design.
Questions from the audience included asking about other water features; an arts application concerned with this is in process. Others wondered how much of the water would be used. Two springs are involved, which may leave some surplus for future expansion. Others questioned how many years of life the Spa would have. lf the Spa is successful, addition facilities would be required as the projected capacity is limited. Given the quantity of compounds in the water, it was asked how the project could ensure that the pipes were kept clear. The audience was assured that this matter was getting serious attention. As to the price for using the facilities, it was stated that a fee of £6 or £7 was projected. Bath residents would have some concessions including an expected £2 charge for the Cross Bath. Taxpayers have been protected in the contract negotiated with the Operators through a variety of maintenance requirements.
This was a highly informative presentation, and the Project Team has been invited to make a full presentation of the final design on 13 May.

Betty Suchar

 

BATH SPA FINAL DESIGN
A Presentation on 23 September 1998
Speakers: Nicholas Grimshaw and the Design Team
The Institution was the host to over 200 people who occupied two floors to hear Nicholas Grimshaw and the Bath Spa Project Team describe the final design for the New Spa.
Computer-generated pictures showed how the Millennium Spa Buildings will be
constructed. The spa complex consists of six buildings centred around the Cross and Hot Baths. The Beau Street swimming pool will be replaced with the only new building in the complex which will form the core of the
facility. The contemporary glass and stone design for this building received widespread support.
The Hot Bath will house individual treatment rooms and the Cross Bath will
be restored as a working spa primarily for B&NES citizens. On the Beau Street site, changing rooms, saunas, steam rooms and a plunge pool will be contained in a three-storey free-standing cube with walls clad in Bath
stone.
The audience was very interested in the water treatment and other plant which will be housed in a new basement on the Beau Street site connecting to existing services in the cellars of Bath Street.
Members of the design team highlighted the fact that the building will act as a show-case for the latest sustainable technology using the on-site natural thermal springs as a source of renewable energy. Under-floor heating will be the source of heat and heat exchangers will convert residual energy to ventilate the building.
Paul Simon reported that the demolition of the Beau Street building has begun to allow an archaeological dig to take place. Planning and listed building applications are scheduled for December 1998; the main contractors are
expected on site next May, and completion is still targeted for late 2000. He stressed that cost overruns which occur will not fall on the ratepayers.
As to the cost to the spa user, Mr. Simons estimated that a two-hour session
would cost £14, a half-day ticket £23 and a full day £32. B&NES's residents would be entitled to a discount and would be able to use the Cross Baths for a fee of £3.50.
In closing the meeting, he said ‘it is clear from the large number attending, that this project has generated a large amount of excitement.’
We learned in the following week that in demonstrating substantial resident support for the spa, this meeting was decisive in convincing B&NES councillors that the project should be approved.
Victor Suchar