Press Release:
19th century concert hall in Bristol to receive minimalist extension

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The contemporary addition to the St George’s Bristol grand estate, a pavilion by architects Patel Taylor, has today received planning permission from Bristol Council. Evocative of great archetypal garden buildings, this new space will afford visitors a quiet place for reflection and somewhere to relax and enjoy the historic grounds – as well as expanding the prestigious venue to cater for an increasing number of visitors.

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Originally built as a church and consecrated in 1823, St George’s is one of the country’s most celebrated concert venues and principal concert halls for chamber music in Britain, and its remarkable acoustic values are instantly recognisable to musicians and music-lovers throughout the country. After a period of neglect, a small committed group of enthusiasts in the late 1970s, fought successfully to save this handsome Georgian building as a centre for fine music – a role it fulfils to this day

Currently this unique venue is embarking on an ambitious programme of regeneration and extension, ‘Building a Sound Future’ – a £5.5 million capital project to reconfigure and extend this world-class music venue and to help secure its long term future and financial sustainability. As part of this vision, architects Patel Taylor have been commissioned to design a new pavilion extension to the existing St George’s, which will become not only a new entrance to welcome visitors as well as providing additional performance and education spaces. The pavilion will also function as a quiet retreat during intervals in performances and a welcoming outside space for summer festivals, art fairs and musical events.

A multi-purpose, double-height space with a glass entrance establishes a new dynamic presence for St George’s to the south on Great George Street, previously partially concealed and hidden on one side by tall walls, gates and car parking. Constructed in glass and stone, this new space will become a striking and contemporary addition to the core historic structure of St George’s.

The ground floor of the pavilion is level with the crypt level of the former church, whilst stone steps allow visitors to ascend through the entrance to meet the historic building in a newly created access point to the existing auditorium space. The restrained stone construction and extensive use of glass establishes a distinct but complementary identity within an historic setting.

The pavilion extension will house a new café/bar to cater for around 560 people, offering expansive views over the gardens which will also be re-laid to enhance the visitor experience and to create a place of pleasure and respite amidst the city bustle of Bristol.

New and easily legible visitor entrances, with step-free access directly into the main hall for the first time, will also be completed together with the remodelling of all backstage and artist facilities and new education and workshop spaces.

Andrew Taylor, Patel Taylor said:

“Working on projects such as St George’s lifts the soul and reminds us once again of why we practise architecture. We’re extremely pleased it has received planning permission and we look forward to working with St George’s Bristol to bring this vision into reality.”

Suzanne Rolt, Chief Executive, St George’s Bristol said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Bristol City Council has granted planning permission, confirming its support for our Building a Sound Future project.  We can now push forward with our ambitious plans to extend the building and transform the experience for all visitors to St George’s.“

“This news will give confidence to the funding bodies who have already pledged their support as well as help attract further supporters to come forward to secure the remaining £1.8 million needed to realise our vision.

“This is an important milestone in a meticulously planned project that is now just two years away from completion – in October 2017 we will unveil a new-look St George’s that will secure the hall’s future and provide a thrilling addition to Bristol’s cultural landscape”



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