In Canley this Sainsbury’s supermarket, associated petrol station and parking were constructed to a tight budget and a timeline of just 26 weeks. It provides an alternative to the pitched roof and tiled version – with the ability to be constructed to the same budget in a shorter timeframe. It forms part of ongoing research and development of a supermarket ‘typology’ – in this case suited to smaller sites on the edge of towns.
The building takes the form of a modern box, low to the ground with concealed plant and services.
The concept is creation of a grand ‘shop window’. The main facade is a six-metre-high frameless glass wall, clearly revealing all the merchandise inside. It is protected by a wing-like canopy made of metal aerofoils covered in a structural grade weather-proof fabric, echoing the wings of the aircraft that were formerly produced on the site. The whole 70-metre long by 12-metre wide structure is designed to rotate to shade the front of the store, while a similar fixed ‘wing’ provides weather protection over the store’s petrol filing station nearby. Concealed luminaires in both canopies create a spectacular glow at night, signalling the store’s location and offering customers a suitably bright welcome.
Royal Fine Arts Commission, Commercial Building Award 1994
Client J Sainsbury
Location Canley, UK
Status Completed 1994
Architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Services Engineer Roberts and Partners
Structural Engineer Ernest Green
Main Contractor RCGM
Photography Chris Gascoigne