When the main Sainsbury store in Canterbury (Images 1 to 4) opened in 1984, its architecture was seen as controversial.  Designed by the English partnership Ahrends, Burton, & Koralek, it was the first high profile Sainsbury store to go ‘high tech’ and looked very different from the traditional ‘Essex barn’ style.  The Canterbury store relied on dramatic external steel uprights from which the roof was suspended on cables, producing a clear internal span without columns or divisions.  Local commentators, unconvinced by the designers’ claims that the uprights simply echoed the towers of the city cathedral, joked that it would look fine once the roof was on.  Others saw in the building a bold new vision in store design.  It was awarded the Structural Steel Design Award in 1985 and the Civic Trust Award in 1986.

What to see (click on the images below to expand the view):

  • suspended roof (Image 1)
  • tall steel uprights (Image 2)
  • the suspended canopy covering the pedestrian walkway by the car park (Image 3)
  • cladding of ceramic tiles (Image 4)

For notes on other Canterbury stores see pages on Superdrug and M&S.

Sources:  Morrison (2003); also web site