Bath Racecourse redevelopment
Aiming to offer some of the best sporting, hospitality and event facilities in the region – Bath racecourse has undergone a huge amount of redevelopment work. The multi-million pound investment has seen the rebuilding of the existing hospitality suites and creation of a new spectator grandstand.
The racecourse has been in situ for over 200 years, and the County stand dates back to 1833 – making this one of the oldest regency grandstands in the country. The existing hospitality suites and the pervious spectator stand were both build mid-twentieth century. With such history and admiration, the site was more than eligible for a renovation. Therefore, the racecourse got just that. There are 4 floors of executive boxes with a new public bar at ground level and popular meeting spaces over three floors, as well as a three storey grandstand with a ground floor bar, first floor restaurant and event space and top floor open roof garden under a stunning tensile canopy roof.
The main materials used for the construction of the site include British steel, a tensile canopy roof structure, a through colour render system and an aluminium frame double glazed curtain walling. The exterior finish is also just as ostentatious, with a render finish in a colour palette designed to suite the muted colours Bath is renowned for, in order to reflect the location of the racecourse in the World Heritage city of Bath and in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
At the concept stage, one of the key considerations was to create external circulation space around the building – as a way of maximising the usable floor area of the internal spaces. This is just one of the many design features that attract particular interest, as well the tensile roof which incorporates two circular roof lights and gives this flagship building its distinctive appearance. However, due to the site being situated in an area of natural beauty, the building had to address planning concerns with regards to noise and light pollution. Therefore, the architects (D5) designed external lighting with light sensitive controls that comprise narrow beam short throw luminaires as a way of providing sufficient light for safe circulation whilst still being sensitive to the natural surroundings.
A sensitive approach was taken throughout the construction of the racecourse, not only did they have to keep in mind that it was an area of natural beauty, another spanner was put into the works when they also had to take into consideration the fact that the racecourse would still be operating as a venue for events and racing commenced in April with ten fixtures taking place around the construction site of the new grandstand.
And if that wasn’t enough, the project has also included a number of landscaping works as part of the desire to create an improved customer journey and aesthetic across Bath Racecourse. This involved a new hard standing car park area, re-landscaped lawns and renewal of hard standing throughout the main racecourse enclosures.
Despite having to jump over so many hurdles (or hedges), work progressed on time and on budget throughout the project and the team are overwhelmed with the result.
Emotions were running high at Bath Racecourse when we spoke to Executive Director Jo Hall:
“The local community have long been supportive of the racecourse, evidenced clearly through the swift planning approval achieved for the project. The racecourse will offer the local community a thriving visitor attraction and events destination as well as creating additional employment opportunities though our long term growth.”
“We are keen to offer our thanks to the design team and particular the main contractor The Design Works Group – who have shared in our vision from the outset and ensured throughout that the racecourse was able to operate during construction and that all work has been of the highest quality. They have been an extension of the racecourse team from the beginning and we are delighted to have worked with them to bring the project to fruition. We hope to be known as one of the smartest small racecourses in the country.”