Nicholas Pearson Associates
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Projects /
University of Bristol

Client: The University of Bristol

Project Team including: Jacobs Ltd, Capita Symonds Ltd, Sheppard Robson Architects,
Arup, BDP, Buro Happold, CSJ Planning

Location: Bristol

The University of Bristol is recognised as a world-class, research intensive, higher education establishment and has significant proposals for redevelopment and expansion within its city centre precinct area. The site is located within a Conservation Area, with important Listed buildings and includes Royal Fort Gardens, within which remnants of a Repton designed landscape survive, as well as areas of archaeological importance.

 We played a key role within the consultant team for the preparation of a Strategic Master Plan for the University, which was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document by Bristol City Council. We were authors of the subsequent follow on deliverables, the University External Realm Framework document and the External Realm Design Handbook, the latter being approved by BCC as part of the Phase 1 planning consent.  

 Following on from this strategic work we are part of the separate design teams for two site specific developments within the University precinct: Maths and Life Sciences and the Student Union building. These projects, amongst several smaller commissions, have taken forward the principles of the wider strategy in meeting the University’s aspirations for a high quality, city centre precinct.

 The Maths and Life Science development project includes a significant element of public realm addressing multiple complex competing functions ranging from conservation and archaeological protection requirements, topographic and people movement conflicts, future phasing requirements, and resolves practical issues of servicing and access, maintenance, biodiversity (including Bats) and cost.  Planning consent was gained in September 2009 for the £104m circular maths building and multi functional Life Science buildings and external realm, located within two Conservation Areas and changing the setting of 5 listed buildings.

 “…..the scheme successfully combines the established conventional landscape in front of the Royal Fort building with a thoroughly contemporary treatment associated with the new Department of Mathematics building. The construction of the new landscape based upon a series of arcs relating to the Maths building footprint  'fractal generator…’ creates a rhythm across the surrounding spaces that helps to reconcile the very different architectural styles and masses and even provides a logic to the location of the Bioscience building which sits happily within the fractal theme.”

 (Extract from Landscape Officer recommendation to approve, Bristol City Council.)