Homebase Superstore, Brentford
Designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners in 1987, the 4,180 sq m superstore provides a large, column-free interior. It followed his Sainsbury’s store in Camden Town, currently the subject of a listing application, which was part of an effort by Homebase’s parent company to create architectural excellence. In the HighTech manner with which Grimshaw made his reputation, the structure is immediately legible, with a central 95.7 m long structural spine overhanging the length of the building, supported by a mast at the front and trestle to the rear. The store declares its presence with a 33-metre-tall tower, supporting the spine through steel tension rods and carrying the Homebase sign. This unmissable tower also recalls the tradition of dramatic signage along London’s Great West Road, such as the listed Gillette factory tower of the 1930s nearby. A barrel-vault roof light runing the entire length of the spine, dramatically enhances the interior. Further natural daylighting is supplied by roof lights integrated within each of the seven pairs of ‘wings’, which span outwards from the spine to V-shaped props. Following an announcement by Homebase that it will be closing the store, Hounslow Council has identified the site for housing.
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