At the heart of the Town, the Grade 2 Listed Atkins Building as a new creative industries’ hub will provide managed work spaces, exhibition and gallery space, performance and rehearsal space, retail and a café bar area, conference and meeting space and general office units for start-up and growing enterprises.
Synergy, meaning working together, best describes the beneficial interplay of the Atkins Building, the new College and the Town where the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts.
The Atkins Building’s simple, open floor configuration of shallow width and regular fenestration allows the multitude of new activities to be readily accommodated with flexibility for incremental or radical change in the future. The tall windows will continue to flood the interiors with daylight and sunshine throughout the day and the refurbished opening vents will maintain natural ventilation. The thermal mass of the building fabric will assist in the balancing of the internal temperature.
New arrangements for external access and internal circulation incorporate the retention of the distinctive central archway for the main reception, a direct entrance to the retail and café bar area adjacent to the College main entrance and new lifts to provide access for all. The café bar will also incorporate an external decked area.
As far as is practicable, use has been made of many of the building’s existing and evolved features as a factory including loading doors, wall openings to former building extensions (now demolished) and obsolete lift shafts. The cast-iron columns and suspended timber floors to the original wing together with the exposed timber roof spaces throughout are preserved for their intrinsic value and character. Where new partitions sub-divide the wings, clerestory glazing will be used to allow space to continue to flow and the conserved features to be read.
The development site, incorporating the new College building and the existing Atkins building, will also contain open air car parking. Vehicular access will be from Druid Street, in the same location as the previous road access to the Atkins Factory.
Extensive soft landscaping and new tree planting along the Druid Street boundary will screen the car park from the residential properties, and planting within the car park will provide a visual link with the green open space around the Unitarian Chapel.
The College building will be located along the northern edge of the site allowing the car park to step down towards the Atkins building in a series of terraces. Servicing for the College building will be directly from the car park and that for the Goddard building will be at the lowest part of the site, where a designated number of disabled parking spaces will also be provided.
The main pedestrian entrances to both buildings will be from a new paved forecourt opening onto Lower Bond Street. This will link through between the buildings to connect with an extensive pedestrianised space containing hard and soft landscaping features, and will create an attractive open area to be enjoyed by the users of both buildings. Covered cycle spaces close to the College and a new bus lay-by on Lower Bond Street will enhance the ‘green’ credentials of the development.
The Atkins BuildingLower Bond Street, HinckleyLeicestershire. LE10 1QUwww.atkinsbuilding.co.uk