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The Wharf Bar in Walsall by Sergison Bates


A pioneering essay in the resuse of former industrial zones

Sergison Bates’ first major commission was a diminutive partner to Caruso St John’s New Art Gallery, one of the first in a series of National Lottery-funded regional arts projects. Contrasting with the 37 metre tall gallery tower, this is a low, black shingled building with an outside seating area overlooking the basin – a pioneering essay in the reuse of former waterside industrial zones to stimulate an ‘urban renaissance’. It was earmarked for demolition in 2008 as part of an Urban Splash redevelopment plan drawn up by Will Alsop. He called the building ‘horrible’; this seems a tad excessive for what is essentially a shed but perhaps he detected in this early example of the ‘whispering tendency’ an architecture that would eventually triumph over his own, louder mode.

The wharf bar floor plan

The wharf bar floor plan