The Spectrum Building
My second favourite building, in Swindon, the David Murray John Tower being my number one, has to be the Spectrum Building – or the Renault Building as it still tends to be known.
Built in 1981-82 to be a warehouse and distribution centre for vehicle components for the Renault car company it’s the creation of Sir Norman Foster.
Demonstrating that the listing of buildings isn’t all about old buildings, the Spectrum building achieved Grade II listed status in 2013.
The Historic England website describes the reasons for it being listed as:
- Architectural Interest: it’s a particularly important building of the 1980s by Sir Norman Foster – one of Britain’s foremost contemporary architects. It embodies the key features and characteristics of the British High Tech movement.
2. Technological Interest: This is an innovative industrial building using new materials, technology and design solutions, built for a forward-thinking client. One that demanded a fully flexible and prestigious building to promote the company and reflect the advanced design and technology of its products.
- Historic Interest: The building’s strong association with the French company Renault, ranking among the most notable and prestigious car manufacturers of the twentieth century adds to its level of special interest.
Foster’s design and involvement didn’t stop with the building itself. He also designed all the building’s fixtures and fittings, free standing office furniture and warehouse storage systems included.
He designed glass top tables with steel and aluminium legs for the reception area and cafeteria to echo the design of the beams and mullions of the building itself.
He developed these designs from his own 1970s experiments in furniture design. They went on to inspire his later Nomos office furniture system.
Once completed, the Renault Centre received widespread admiration winning several awards.
Madam La Lumiere, the French Secretary of State for Consumer Affairs performed the official opening on 15 June 1983.
Fascinating fact: In 1985, the Spectrum building featured in the James Bond film, ‘A View to a Kill’. Not the only Swindon building to attract producers of Bond films, the Motorola building has also had that privilege.
The building now houses an indoor crazy golf activity and a children’s, Kidz About, play centre.