Swindon and iconic buildings

21st September 2013

The Spectrum building, Swindon

The Spectrum building, Swindon

I’ve always rather liked the Spectrum building or the Renault building as it tends to be referred to, even though the car  company moved out of it some years ago. I didn’t though know very much about it until recently. Whilst I did know that it had been used in a Bond film – ‘A view to a Kill’ in 1984 – I didn’t know that it was designed by none other than Sir Norman Foster, internationally renowned architect. I also was ignorant of the fact that the design won a number of awards including the prestigious Financial Times ‘Architecture at Work’ Award in 1984. Famous for his steel and glass designs, Lord Foster created the Gherkin and Millennium Bridge in London, rebuilt Berlin’s Reichstag and also Hong Kong Airport, so our building is in very illustrious company.

Being such an iconic building it’s unsurprising that there’s reams of writing about it on the internet. But as ever our very own Swindon Web has an informative article about it.  From there I learned  that: ‘this was not Sir Norman’s first Swindon FT winning design. He won the same award for his design of the Reliance Controls Electronics Factory, Greenbridge, Swindon in 1967. The building was unfortunately demolished in 1991 to make way for PC World.’ I know I’ve said I don’t want to use this blog as a place to rant and rave but seriously – what?! Why would someone do that? So it’s great to hear this week that the Renault/Spectrum building has now been given Grade II listed status by English Heritage in what it describes as a move to ‘protect post-war’ architecture.

The Link centre, West Swindon

The Link centre, West Swindon

I confess I also rather like The Link Centre building at West Swindon and the David Murray John building, also known as the Brunel Tower, in the town centre. It stands like a giant exclamation mark on the Swindon skyline – it’s fab.

I once had the opportunity to go to the top of that particular building and it was really quite a revelation – one could clearly see the route the canal would have taken for a start. It was all quite fascinating. The David Murray John Building has made it on to a list of five extraordinary buildings compiled by architecture writer Jonathan Meades who had this to say about it:

“Designed by Douglas Stephen and built in the Seventies, this tower is a sleek, slick return to the smooth white grace of Twenties and Thirties Modernism. It’s a mixed-use building, incorporating social housing, offices and retail, which is rare in Britain. Stephen was a communist and believed in architecture as a power for social good.” Meades list includes Marseille Cathedral and Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh so our building is held in esteem with some exalted company.

Brian Carter of Carter Collectables has some great photos of the Renault Building and the Link Centre under construction on his Flicker collection. And of course the website of the architect himself  and his company has some amazing photographs and an absolute wealth of information about the building. It is a stunning construction.

David Murray John building, Swindon town centre

David Murray John building, Swindon town centre


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

About amaatk123

Owner of AA Editorial Services - www.aaedits.co.uk #Digitalcopywriting #proofreading #writing Blog about Swindon as Born again Swindonian #BAS Joint English Hons graduate 2014 http://about.me/amaatk123

6 responses to “Swindon and iconic buildings”

  1. Matthew says :

    Thought you would like to see some images of inside and out of the Reliance Controls building. http://www.fosterandpartners.com/m/projects/reliance-controls/images.php?id=0097
    Would be fascinated to hear from any locals who may have worked there, and if it was a comfortable environment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Arts in Wiltshire

A blog created by Wiltshire Council's Arts Service

Madam Renards Ltd

Theatre Productions

Art in the South-West

Shedding light on some of the interesting, challenging and downright wonderful exhibitions in the region...


Musings and a place to store stuff


Words and wisdom from the East (of Swindon)

Suzie's Kitchen

Home and lifestyle

Born Again Swindonian

A personal celebration of Swindon

swindon connect

Life as a business connector in Swindon - all views are my own


But I love a challenge!

Born Again Swindonian

A personal celebration of Swindon


Notes from an ordinary life


An HLF Collecting Cultures Project to collect and celebrate the best of Wiltshire's creative talent

Successful Software

...requires more than just good programming.

%d bloggers like this: