Analysing the usage and architectural styles of Greyfriars by Kyle Francis

After examining the uses and architectural styles of all the buildings concerning our Greyfriars project we have arrived at several points and conclusions that will affect our design scheme in this new term. Myself and Edelin had explored the site one cold frosty morning to identify the practice of each building in the area and assign every building’s use to a suitable category. The categories of each building range from: retail, office, restaurant/bar, residential, educational and those currently vacant/to let. The area blends these uses to great effect and proves that by preserving architecture it is still viable to run a profitable business. Though in saying that, looking analytically at all the building uses it was no shock to see that the predominant use of buildings in the Greyfriars area is office space and not retail space.

Greyfriars is dominated by solicitor offices, the area is a ‘go to’ point if you have a dispute or settlement you need fighting legally. The area emanates formality, negativity and is characterless to walk through. We believe this is because of the overpowering presence of solicitor offices. Nobody’s saying to rid Greyfriars of solicitor offices entirely, on the contrary, we want to incorporate all types of business in the area. Nevertheless, we want to structure the identity of the area around businesses generating their own money not businesses litigating other people for theirs. Along Friar Lane there are only three buildings that are not solicitor offices. It is quite a strange feeling walking towards the city centre from DMU through Greyfriars, it almost feels as if I am walking on private property, on Friar Lane particularly.

In terms of assigning building styles, this was a more enjoyable and informative task. We found that over half of the buildings in Greyfriars are Georgian style buildings. Common themes of most of these buildings are the panel front doors centered under elegant porticos topped with symmetrical rectangular and arched windows. These windows are sometimes crowned with an elaborate pediment/entablature complemented by decorative pilasters.

Interestingly, at the start of Millstone Lane nearby Southgate House most of the buildings venturing up Friar Lane and Millstone Lane respectively are ‘modern’ buildings that do not adhere to any particular historic style. These buildings would have been built post 1930’s. Buildings such as Southgate House, The Criterion Pub, Millstone Court and the Thomas Firth Building etc. are all modern buildings with recurring symmetrical windows that dress a straight forward rectilinear form building.

Georgian Style offices located on New Street

Georgian Style offices located on New Street

All things considered after looking at the uses and styles of these buildings it has further inspired us to believe in preserving the architectural image of Greyfriars. With little ‘tweeks’ and modifications made to mainly the interiors of these beautiful historic buildings, we see new and exciting businesses striving in the Greyfriars area.


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