Lichfield architects Brownhill Hayward Brown has designed the new Wedgwood visitor centre, a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, as well as creating the overall master plan for the historic 281-acre Wedgwood site in Barlaston, Staffordshire.  

As The World of Wedgwood prepares to open, architect Andrew Hayward says he is pleased with how the plans have come to fruition.

Andrew said: “I’m really pleased with the way the project has come together. The design is contemporary but fits nicely within Wedgwood’s design principles which we have achieved by good design and by using an appropriate colour pallette.

“We’ve made sure that the site has a good clarity of purpose and comparing the original CGI images and photos of the near completed project it’s remarkable how close concept the concept was to reality.

The majority of the existing factory was demolished whilst the remaining factory and outbuildings have been refurbished with three extensions added to accommodate the new visitor facility. The state-of-the-art ceramic manufacturing facilities will enable significant increases in capacity to help safeguard existing positions and support future growth.

A linking corridor between the museum gallery and the new extension will ensure that the anticipated 100,000 visitors each year can take in the whole Wedgwood experience under one roof, including a flagship retail concept store, tea rooms and a restaurant serving locally sourced produce.

Andrew said: “The first visitors have already had a sneak preview and it’s nice to see how they arrive along the tree-lined boulevard and easily navigate the site.”

Funding for the project has been assisted by a grant of £5.1m from the Regional Growth Fund, along with David Wilson homes who have begun the first of three phases of housing on the Lakeside.

The Village phase will be started when the old Wedgwood production areas and offices are finally vacated leaving the prestigious OAKs phase at the rear of the site, nestling within its woodland setting to complete the residential enabling development.

As well as the designs, Brownhill Hayward Brown has helped the client Waterford-Wedgwood-Royal Doulton (WWRD) secure planning approval for the work, which is on designated greenbelt land. This was the result of extensive consultation with the Local Planning Authority, English Nature, British Waterways, Staffordshire County Council and the West Midlands Regional Growth Fund.

Andrew concluded: “One of our primary aims was to ensure that the facilities were designed with efficiency and sustainability in mind - whilst also making the finished site a real destination for the plethora of visitors and tourists that Wedgwood attracts every year.

“The contractors have worked hard to accurately deliver the vision and something to be proud of.”

PR by Clive Reeves Birmingham