Tyre firm moves into Swindon’s iconic former Renault warehouse

January 6, 2017
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Swindon’s iconic 1980s Spectrum Building, designed by renowned architect Lord (Norman) Foster as a warehouse and showroom for French car giant Renault, is back in use as a tyre distribution centre.

The yellow building, pictured – famously used as a backdrop in the 1984 James Bond film A View To A Kill – is occupied by Melksham-based Cooper Tire Europe as its main UK warehouse.

The move, which has created 17 jobs, means Cooper Tire can store up to 400,000 tyres under one roof.

The US-owned firm, which acquired Avon Rubber’s tyre manufacturing plant in Melksham 20 years ago, has opened the 211,000 sq ft warehouse in the rear of the building originally used by Renault as its UK parts distribution centre.

The large glazed front of the building, which gained Grade II* listed status in 2013, is occupied by children’s activity centre Kidz About.

Cooper Tire said locating the warehouse in West Swindon also increased speed of delivery due to its close proximity to the M4.

Cooper Tire Europe marketing communications manager Sarah McRoberts said: “With this new warehouse in Swindon we are able to better service our UK customers’ requirements, and increase stock levels across the full Cooper and Avon winter and summer product ranges.

“We now have 30 staff based in Swindon, and are delighted to have had new employees joining the Cooper family as a result of our expanded warehouse facilities.”

The official opening was attended by Swindon Town captain Nathan Thompson – Avon Tyres is an official partner of the League One club – and Cooper Tire Vice global manufacturing president Jeff Schumaker.

Still known locally as the Renault Building, it was designed by Lord Foster specially for the car firm, which needed grow-on space for its Reading operations. It opened in 1982 and, with cars suspended in mid-air in its atrium and its umbrella-like struts, immediately caught the attention of local people as well as architectural critics.

Renault moved out in 2001 and the building has since been used by a number of occupiers including for CD and car seat distribution.

The use of the building by a child’s play firm was, apparently, welcomed by the world-famous architect. He told Architects’ Journal in 2015 that he was ‘relaxed’ about it.

Lord Foster, one of the world’s best-known architects whose designs have included The Gherkin and the revamped Wembley Stadium in London and the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank HQ in Hong Kong, cut his architectural teeth in Swindon.

His first building was a factory – now demolished – at Greenbridge designed with former partner Richard (now Lord) Rogers, best known for the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Millennium Dome (now O2 Arena) and Lloyds Building in London.

 

 

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