Grimshaw's "unapologetically futuristic" Sainsbury's supermarket awarded heritage status

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The high-tech Camden Road Sainsbury's designed by Grimshaw, and the housing complex built alongside it, have been awarded Grade II-listed status.

The Sainsbury's in London is the first purpose-built supermarket to be awarded a place on the National Heritage List for England, which recognises architecture that should be preserved.

Grand Union Walk, a series of canal-side terraced houses built by Grimshaw, has also been recognised by Historic England.

Both are part of the Grand Union Complex, a series of buildings built by Grimshaw between 1986 and 1988 for Sainsbury's on a former industrial site in Camden.

"The Camden Road Sainsbury's is an outstanding example of high-tech architecture in a busy urban setting," said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England – the UK body that lists buildings.

"It is an unapologetically futuristic building which also sits comfortably alongside its historic neighbours – matching the scale of the 19th-century terrace opposite – and rightly deserves to be recognised for its architectural significance."

Founder of Grimshaw and RIBA Gold Medal-winning architect Nicholas Grimshaw was one of the pioneers of the high-tech style of architecture that emerged in the 1970s.

It is characterised by highly engineered buildings that often use industrial components and clearly display their structure.The Camden Road Sainsbury's is clad in aluminium and glass panels, with a visible steel frame. Inside, its gently curving ceiling trusses are designed to reference old market halls.

Cutting edge technology was applied to the design, including a fireproof coating for the frame that had been developed for military purposes. This also protects the structure from the emissions of the busy main road.

Grand Union Walk is a rare example of high-tech style applied for residential use. The ten houses and two flats have an industrial aesthetic, with aluminium panels and porthole-style windows.

The horizontal ribs of the back walls match those to the rear of the Sainsbury's.

The project is the latest Grimshaw project to be listed. Both the Financial Times printing works in the Docklands and The Western Morning News building in Plymouth are already listed.

Other listed high-tech buildings in England currently include the Lloyd's Building by Rogers Stirck Harbour and Partners, and two buildings by Hopkins Architects – the Schlumberger Gould Research Centre and Hopkins House.

Three of the high-tech buildings by Foster + Partners – the Sainsbury's Centre, the Willis Building and the Spectrum Building, formerly called the Renault Distribution Centre – are also listed.

Photography is by Chris Redgrave for Historic England.

Grimshaw's "unapologetically futuristic" Sainsbury's supermarket awarded heritage status

The Camden Road Sainsbury's is built in the high-tech architecture style


Historic England called Camden Road Sainsbury's an "unapologetically futuristic building"


Grand Union Walk is formed of ten terraced houses and two flats


The homes are rare examples of residential high-tech architecture


Grimshaw built the Grand Union Complex in the 1980s