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Bath Abbey Footprint Project : An architect’s view of the project objectives and the works
Bath Abbey is the largest and arguably the most significant building in the World Heritage City of Bath, recognised by UNESCO as a site of international importance. The Footprint Project sought to prepare the Abbey and its associated buildings for the next century of occupation, to ensure that the fabric of the Abbey is properly looked after and appreciated, as well as providing the kind of facilities that a contemporary church and visitor attraction requires. The Footprint Project not only repaired a failing floor but has taken the opportunity to document and research the carved gravestones that made up the floor, record the archaeology beneath the stones and install an innovative sustainable heating system to provide comfort to parishioners. New spaces have been created in the adjacent buildings that will serve the Abbey and those who work in it, repairing the Georgian buildings, but also creating unexpected spaces within them for learning, administration and for the 60-strong Abbey choir. Over ten years in development, and now close to completion, the Footprint Project has tackled major historic damage to the Abbey floor, while also creating a range of new facilities. This paper discusses the Footprint Project, during which the Abbey sought to put its buildings in a condition that will enable them to serve the mission of the church for the next 100 years. It analyses how the removal of the nave pews at Bath Abbey and the repair of its historic floor enhances the significance of the Grade I Listed Building and the outstanding universal value of the city of Bath World Heritage Site.
The full article is available to institutions that have subscribed to the journal.
Alex Morris is an associate at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. He is a specialist in creative reuse and heritage projects and has been project architect on the Bath Abbey Footprint Project since 2015. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is an architectural and urban design practice with an international reputation for design quality, for pioneering environmental expertise and a progressive architectural approach. The practice started small 40 years ago and continues to be committed to social and humanistic values in its work. It is experienced in designing for education, housing, masterplanning and urban design as well as places for art and the creative reuse of historic buildings.