St George's Bristol

Bristol, UK

Two decades since its last major capital project, St George’s Bristol – one of the city’s most acclaimed concert venues – has reimagined its front of house and public facilities, creating a pitch-perfect suite of spaces for its community.

The exterior of the new extension. © Peter Cook.

Designed in the Greek Revival style by architect Robert Smirke in the 1820s, St George’s was a parish church for the local congregation for over 160 years. Facing redundancy in 1976, it was rescued by St George’s Music Trust, who re-established the Grade II* listed building as a centre for music and continue to stage an impressive and ever-expanding programme of live concerts.

The new cafe. © Peter Cook.

Their latest development has seen the construction of a new extension to the existing building, improving and expanding the core facilities of the venue which already hosts some two-hundred live music events each year. The extension comprises a new entrance foyer, café and bar, workshop and educational spaces and an improved connection between the front of house and the auditorium.

“The expertise that Charcoalblue brought to the project was indispensable.”

George Ferrari, Associate, Patel Taylor

The new cafe. © Peter Cook.

The new front of house space. © Peter Cook.

Circulation space in the new extension. © Peter Cook.

Designed by Patel Taylor, the extension invites guests to explore the space which features a muted, historically-fitting palette of warm Bath stone, pale wood and floor to ceiling glazing.

We advised on the acoustic design of the new development, which included the redesign of the backstage and Back Of House facilities in the basement of the building.

The main challenge in the project’s acoustic design was achieving a high degree of sound and structural separation between the new and existing building, so that any events or rehearsals in the new multi-use spaces would not be disruptive to the operation of the concert hall. High-performing secondary glazing for the church’s windows and new sound and light lobbies between the new and existing buildings fitted with acoustic doors helped to that end, while the new building was designed to be almost completely structurally independent from St. George’s church.

New front of house area. © Peter Cook.

Further to safeguarding the seamless operation of the concert hall, another acoustic challenge was ensuring that noise from the operation of the new foyer and multi-purpose spaces would not have an adverse impact on the nearby residential properties. The fact that the new multi-purpose spaces were naturally ventilated, in addition to stringent local authority criteria, made this acoustic design target even more challenging. A series of bespoke acoustic vents that serve air to the multi-purpose rooms while effectively mitigating noise getting in or out, and high-performing glazing on the new building's north and south facades allowed for both the sustainability and acoustic targets to be achieved.

The new multi-purpose rooms are primarily designed for the clarity of unamplified speech. They double up as warm and intimate rehearsal spaces and as performance spaces for informal or small-scale events.

The new foyer spaces in action. © Evan Dawson

Project Details

Client

St George's Bristol

Completion

2018

Project cost

£6.3 million

High-performing glazing on the new building's north and south facades allowed for both the sustainability and acoustic targets to be achieved. © Peter Cook.

Credits

Architect

Patel Taylor

Acoustician

Charcoalblue

Structural Engineer

BuroHappold

M&E Consultant

BuroHappold

Landscape Architect

Patel Taylor

Quantity Surveyor

Dickson Powell Partnership

Main Contractor

Midas

Photography

Peter Cook / Evan Dawson

The new foyer spaces. © Peter Cook.

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Ian Stickland

For more on St George's Bristol, speak to Ian.

+44 (0)117 325 9280

Ian Stickland

For more on St George's Bristol, speak to Ian.

Contact Ian

+44 (0)117 325 9280