The Bristol Civic Society Design Awards were announced at only the second live Society event of 2021. St George’s, a past award winner, provided a stunning venue for this year’s event on 19th October 2021. The Design Awards 2021 were once again, sponsored by Savills for which the Society is very grateful.
Because of the pandemic, the award panel looked at schemes that had been completed in 2019 and 2020. From a very competitive field, three awards were made this year. The winners all show that it is possible to combine the best of the old and the new in developments. All the schemes involve the refurbishment, restoration and re-purposing of landmark buildings plus impressive new build elements – the very best of the old and the new.
One of the final developments on Bristol’s Harbourside, Brandon Yard provides 58 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments on the site of a 17th century glassworks. Designed by AWW and built by Galliard Homes working with Acorn Property Group, this development has repurposed the Grade II listed buildings from the Canon’s March Gasworks as well as providing a new block which compliments the heritage buildings. The new, richly planted courtyard adds to the visual experience of the upgraded harbourside walk.
The award panel were particularly pleased to see the listed buildings retained and restored – including the chimney and walls along Gasworks Lane and Lime Kiln Road. They are a considerable heritage asset and a valuable contribution to conserving the rich local history of the area. This was particularly challenging project after the 200 year old buildings had remained derelict for more than 40 years.
The Clifton Observatory is one of the most prominent buildings in Bristol sitting high on the clifftops of the Avon Gorge next to the Suspension Bridge. From this unique vantage point, the Observatory provides far reaching views of Bristol and a welcoming visitor attraction for tourists and locals alike.
Sympathetic renovations have been carried out on the Grade II Listed building over the past five years with the retention of the Camera Obscura and entrance to the Giants Cave. More recently, the building has been extended to include public access to a roof top terrace, an events room, a museum providing historical information of the building and a distinctive new café serving locally sourced produce. Richard Pedlar Architects and JH Construction were involved in the renovations.
The award panel considered this project to be a significant contribution to conserving an iconic building in such a historically important location and providing an excellent example of bringing an old building back into beneficial public use. The new additions to the building are sympathetic to the more prominent old building and add to it’s visual attractiveness and it’s utility. The project has not only restored a building of historical richness but also provides a unique space where Bristolians and tourists can enjoy the Cave, Camera and incredible views.
The Vincent was developed by Pegasus and involved the conversion of Queen Victoria House to 25 apartments and the introduction of two new residential blocks into its grounds providing a further 39 apartments over a gym and wellness centre. There is also a publicly accessible café / restaurant on the ground floor. The grounds have been re-landscaped with the garden to the rear striking an interesting balance between formal spaces and areas of more natural meadow with planting including wild flowers around the retained mature trees.
The new buildings were designed by AHMM and successfully complement the historic building through a design that is characterised by its modern clean lines, light brick work over a contrasting red brick podium and an unusual faceted facade, designed to maximise views out and light into the apartments. The effect is to create an interesting architectural composition that is unique in the landscape. The award panel considered the building to be a well-designed, sensitive architectural addition to the local area of Redland that complemented the restored Queen Victoria House.