Waitrose Store Abingdon
This scheme was undertaken when a partner in a previous Practice, Farrell and Clark.
The brief was to incorporate a 2300 m² (25,000 ft²) retail foodstore on a very constricted town centre conservation area site in Abingdon Oxfordshire. The foodstore, with its associated warehousing and offices, occupies the site of the old MG car plant, and the town's former railway station, and is immediately opposite the Vale of White Horse District Council offices. The site was zoned as an area of Urban Regeneration, having remained largely derelict for a number of years.
The Local Authority design brief required a high quality building to form a key role in the redevelopment of a substantial part of the town centre, and to bring the bonus of a large scale foodstore right in the heart of the town, yet accessible to a wide area of population.
The design was conceived as being essentially domestic in scale, with extensive use of traditional hand-made bricks and plain clay tiles. External columns are clad in stone or hand-made brick specials. The scale and bulk of what is a large town centre building is reduced by extensive use of exposed gables, both in timber and steel, which break down the mass of the roof area, and also by variations in height of the various elements of the building.
The design and construction of the foodstore proved an instant success with the occupiers, the public, and the Local Authority, so much so that, a year after its completion in 1992, it received a Civic Trust Award.
The quality and nature of the distinctive design is such that it will not date, will retain its appearance for a considerable period of time, and has been so successful that an extension to the retail floorspace has recently been added.