Spectrum, Swindon, UK

Foster + Partners
Date Built
1981 to 1982
Mead Way and Rivermead Drive
This amazing building on Mead Way in Swindon was commissioned by the French car manufacturer Renault as a distribution centre.  It was, and still is, referred to by local people as the Renault Building although it is more properly known as Spectrum, as the shiny outdoor sign indicates. 

It was designed by Foster and Partners who describe it as, " ... the practices most playful structure."  When it opened it accommodated, " ... warehousing, ... a showroom, training school, workshops, offices and a staff restaurant."  The building features a floor area of 25,000 square metres housed within, " ... a single enclosure supported by brightly coloured tubular masts and arched steel beams, forming a striking silhouette within its surrounding landscape."  The Foster + Partners website adds that it is the building's, "... almost festive Renault-yellow skeleton that gives the Centre such an identifiable character. Significantly, this created such a memorable image that the building, alone among the companys facilities, did not need to carry the Renault logo. In fact it is so closely associated with the brand that for many years Renault used it as a backdrop in its advertising campaigns."

Renault moved out of the building in 2001 to re-establish themselves in the Midlands.  Since then it has been home to a Ford dealership and now to Kidz About, an indoor play centre featuring a huge multi-coloured play frame rising to over 6.5 metres, an astra-slide, a drop-slide and a spiral slide, an indoor football pitch, a toddler play space, as well as a separate baby area.