RICS Regeneration Award South West 2011 – Highly Commended
Bristol Civic Society Environment Award 2011
Featured in ‘Bristol’s 100 Best Buildings’ by Mike Jenner
This development comprised the demolition and regeneration of a series of buildings on a prominent site in Bristol City Centre. The landmark former Bristol & West tower was retained and converted to a 176 bed hotel for SAS Radisson.
The tower is re-clad in glass panels in different shades of blue, with darker glass nearer the ground and lighter panels towards the top, which gives the illusion that the tower is merging into the sky. The basement was also retained and the remainder of the site was developed to provide 160 residential apartments with 36 Apart Hotel units and 2,800sqm of A1, A2 & A3 retail and leisure uses, including a Health Club.
The Bristol & West 18-storey office tower opened in the Centre to much acclaim in July 1968 and was one of the city’s first office block skyscrapers. When it was constructed in 1968, the design was considered so avant-garde that architecture students were bussed in from across the UK to see ‘the future of Bristol’. Bank of Ireland’s takeover in 1997 marked the beginning of the end for the Bristol & West Building Society but the tower itself survived at a time when many other Bristol buildings were being demolished.
The stark 1960s architectural style became unfashionable, and the drab grey facade looming over the city centre contrasted unfavourably with the regeneration taking place around Bristol’s waterfront. A motion to have the building demolished in 2003 was defeated by just one vote.
The former Bristol and West Tower is now the Radisson Blu Hotel. The development also comprises residential apartments and retail and restaurant units and the area is popular with both Bristol residents and visitors.
The development was highly commended by the RICS Awards in 2011 for regeneration and is featured in the publication ‘Bristol’s 100 Best Buildings’ by Mike Jenner. It was also awarded a Bristol Civic Society Environmental Award to celebrate the city’s best buildings in 2010.
With careful reinvestment, existing buildings can achieve as high environmental efficiency standards as new build. The environmental benefits of refurbishment are shown, based on work by the Empty Homes Agency, evidence from English Heritage, the Building Research Establishment and the Prince’s Foundation.
“Before being regenerated, this landmark site was described as an ‘ugly, hideous, monstrosity’. AWW kept the iconic tower, transforming it from a concrete eyesore, using different shades of blue glass getting lighter as the tower reaches the sky to create an effect of the building blending into the skyscape. AWW took on a huge challenge, transforming an iconic eyesore into a landmark Bristol could once again be proud of.”
I am very happy to recommend the architectural services of AWW. In our roles as project managers for the Broad Quay development, we have experienced the highly efficient, polite and professional service delivered by AWW. The project was well coordinated and information has been delivered in a timely manner. Stephen Baker - Client
They’ve done a fantastic job, I think it’s always more difficult to revamp a building than to start from scratch, as you’ve to work around what you’ve already got. Michael Rathgeb, General Manager of the Radisson SAS in Bristol