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Pharmacy Boves: Etching by Ian RitchieThis commission gave us the opportunity to test pre-assembly and pre-fabrication quality solely by telecommunications. The project was designed and engineered in our London office, understood and interpreted in Viry s.a. in Epinal (Vosges), then checked in London – by fax. Site assembly began on 19 June 1989 and the Pharmacy opened 3 weeks later on 8 July in Boves, near Amiens, in northern France. There was one site survey visit, one visit at the time of the two trucks of the ‘convoi exceptionel’ delivering the building elements and two site inspections after occupation. The final account was completed on 8 October 1989. The concept of the pharmacy is based on three unusual criteria : 1.  No traditional shop window. 2.  No traditional counter. 3. Incorporate accommodation for an on – duty overnight pharmacist. The challenge to the chemist was to accept the ‘village’ location, as against the ‘High Street’ and in recognising this to believe in the public service he was providing, in particular to the old, and mothers and children. The architecture thus stepped back from the road edge and the shop opened up as a generous and welcoming volume, with its reception service table, including magazines and toys. This was a more social approach and one concerned with service as the antithesis of the ‘hard sell­’. The form of the building is a direct response to maximising space and minimising cost on a site liable to flooding. The side walls are wrapped in woven stainless steel (the first such application on a building) and provide anchorage for climbing plants. This use of mesh began the exploration into other uses, such as gabion.

1/1996 THE MODERN STEEL HOUSE Chapman and Hall, London
Journal Articles
02/1991 L'ARCA
05/1990 ARCHI-CREE


Boves, France

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