Restoration ensures sustainable future
The historic Bath Abbey has undergone extensive repair and conservation work along with the addition of new facilities. With its Footprint project, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios sensitively restored the 1300-year-old place of worship and improved the accessibility, flexibility, and sustainability of the building.
The Song School
As part of reworking and improving the Abbey’s back of house facilities, FCBStudios designed the Song School, a new, timber-lined choir practice room where up to 60 singers can rehearse. The oak-panelled room features Junckers solid 20.5mm Oak Harmony plank flooring installed by Moran Floors. The solid oak further enhances the acoustics in the room, an important consideration to the Abbey. Said Huw Williams, Director of Music, Bath Abbey: ‘The floor of the new Song School is a beautiful feature, we are particularly appreciative of the acoustic properties of the floor. It really helps to create a suitable acoustic for rehearsing which has given our choirs a huge boost following a difficult year of lockdowns. The standard and finish of the floor is exceptional, it provides a warmth in contrast to the natural stone features and contributes enormously to the professional and high-quality character of these unique new spaces.’
Sustainable materials - a key objective
The importance of high ethical standards was a key objective for materials sourcing on the project, and FCBStudios was able to rely on Junckers’ experience in procuring sustainably sourced and manufactured material in the specification process. Naturally low in carbon, Junckers solid hardwood flooring comes with sustainability credentials including EPDs, FSC®, PEFCTM and Indoor Climate certification as well as an A+ rating in the BRE Green Guide. Said Alex Morris, Associate, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios: ‘FCBStudios selected Junckers wooden floors for the Bath Abbey offices and new choir rehearsal spaces because we needed to provide hard wearing and elegant floor finishes that would be sympathetic to the character and historic significance of the Grade 2 listed Georgian buildings.”
In addition, Moran Floors fitted Junckers’ 15mm single stave blocks made in solid oak in a single herringbone pattern with a 129x15mm oak plank border in the ground floor reception area. The floor was sanded and finished on site with Junckers’ Rustic Oil. The reception spaces are made up a series of domestic-scale rooms original to the Georgian terrace, which contain many original features. The parquet floor was selected to complement and enhance the elegant grandeur of the building as a whole.
A solid hardwood floor from Junckers has a crevice-free surface which cannot harbour dust or mites, easy to keep clean and contributes to a healthy indoor climate, one of the RIBA’s targets in its 2030 Climate Challenge for architects. Junckers floors carry the Danish Indoor Climate label, recognised by BREEAM, and have undergone extensive degassing and odour testing to ensure no harmful gasses are released into the room. Installing timber in an interior helps minimise static from electrical appliances and helps maintain an even temperature.
A very old, historic building which forms part of the UK’s architectural heritage has been updated and adapted to secure its sustainable future. Junckers flooring with its proven long lifespan was an integral part of the project - expected to last well over 60 years, the floor forms part of the design to future-proof the Abbey.
The Bath Abbey Footprint Project by FCBStudios has been shortlisted for Renewable Energy Project of the Year in the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards 2022. The awards celebrate the best of the UK's green economy and burgeoning net-zero transition. This category recognises projects that have demonstrated a wide range of environmental and economic benefits associated with clean energy deployment and development. The £19.3 million programme of restoration, building works and interpretation will help to secure the Abbey’s physical future. This included repair and restoration of 2,400 floor stones conserved and re-laid, and a revolutionary underfloor heating system harnessing water from Bath’s hot springs.