Renault Distribution Centre

Foster + Partners, Swindon, 1983


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Super scale portecochere in front of the showroom 

Richard Davies     Download Original

  • Super scale portecochere in front of the showroom    
  • Structural masts running the length of the building    
  • East elevation    
  • Porte-cochere and showroom elevation    
  • The structural columns shadows project on to the facade    
  • View of the wall to roof detail of black flexible fabric    
  • View on top of the marquee roof structure    
  • View of the main showroom space    
  • View of cafeteria showing semi-cylinder convector heaters    
  • Foster designed cafeteria tables    
  • The vast warehouse space before fitting out    
  • Internal view of warehouse    
  • Internal view of teaching room in education centre    
  • Internal view of office area    
  • Glass walls round cafeteria and showroom    
  • Roof detail showing structural mast and rooflight    
  • Sloping rooflight    
  • Blockwork panels    
  • Detail of the tie rod connection with the glass wall    
  • Aerial view of the centre    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Office space, ground floor plan    
  • Office space, first floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Part elevation showing the shadow effects     
  • West elevation    
  • Three alternatives for the columns    
  • Sketch of the roof structure    
  • Perspective sketch of the showroom    
  • Internal perspective sketch    
  • Model of the warehouse    
  • Model of the showroom area    
  • Detail of planar glazing system    
  • Internal section detail    
  • Exploded axonometric of a structural bay    
  • Axonometric showing structural system    
  • Axonometric showing structural bays of centre    

Renault parts distribution centre incorporating warehouse, offices, training school and showroom under a wide-span canopy roof

The centre was commissioned as Renault's main UK distribution facility. In addition to warehousing, it includes a showroom, training school, workshops, offices and a staff restaurant. The floor area of 25,000m2 is housed within a single enclosure supported by brightly coloured tubular masts and arched steel beams, forming a silhouette within its surrounding landscape.

The structural system that repeats itself to form the external outline is based around a 24 by 24 metre bay developed so as to maximise the planning flexibility of the internal spaces. This as well as the internal height of 7.5 metres, allows the centre to accommodate a range of uses from industrial warehouse racking to its subdivision into office floors.

Enveloped by a continuous PVC membrane roof, pierced by glass panels at each mast, the building is also stepped at one end, narrowing to a single, open bay that forms a porte-cochere alongside a double-height gallery uses as a showroom.


  • Begun: 1980
  • Completed: Jun 1983
  • Floor area: 23,650m2
  • Sectors: Industrial, Office
  • Total cost: £8.3M
  • Address: Basepoint Business Park, Rivermead Drive , Swindon, SN5 7EX, United Kingdom

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