St George's Bristol


How do you futureproof a cultural building while preserving it's unique identity? St George's Bristol a prominent regional music venue that needed an update to better serve the next generation of patrons and performers. Lightly an extension to the Grade II* listed former-church building provides the charity with additional revenue-generating activites, multifunctional learning, rehearsal and social spaces, as well as an improved visitor experience throughout.

Adjoining the existing crypt is a new box office, café, bar and kitchen space. Two staircases lead to the two learning spaces above, connecting to the main concert hall. At the top of the building, a striking oculus draws light into the learning spaces. Designed as an extended promenade, visitors can walk around the interlinked new and old spaces, as well as outside to the gardens and terraces, increasing capacity to gather and socialise.

The design responds to the sloping topography of the existing church yard and the adjacent terraced Georgian housing to maximise indoor and outdoor space. New entrances and landscaaping define main route through the building. At the front, the café and bar area extend into the front lawn during the warmer months, while the learning spaces open onto the terraced garden at the rear. The latter also serves as an informal outdoor auditorium.

Two new openings through the church wall link the extension to operational and event activities within the crypt. At concert hall level, two additional openings directly connect the auditorium with the new extension to increase visitor flow between the auditorium and café-bar.

Pre-cast and in-situ concrete along with generous glazing and walls clad in Bath stone complement and respect the historical existing church building. Beams set perpendicular to the church wall are spaced to align centrally with the structural rhythm of the existing church, providing a sense of continuity between old and new.

“Boosting the visitor experience was central to our approach, and this has been achieved across the site through bold, new communal spaces, improved accessibility and attractive landscaping. We’ve also sought to balance the existing listed aesthetic with increasing St George's commercial potential, building resilience for this important venue, their performers, visitors and local community.”
- Andrew Taylor

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