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St Mary Redcliffe Design Competition: concept design images released

Schemes propose imaginative additions for landmark Bristol church

Clockwise from top left: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Carmody Groarke, Purcell UK, dRMM, Eric Parry Architects.

Images © MRC/St Mary Redcliffe and shortlisted teams

St Mary Redcliffe released today [April 21, 2016] images of the shortlisted concept designs produced by the five award-winning design teams competing to win the St Mary Redcliffe Design Competition.

The Grade I listed Bristol church, both a national landmark and a living church, is the equivalent of many European cathedrals and one of the largest parish churches in England. The £12-15m development project will give the church much needed visitor amenities, step-free access, and a community hub on a separate site in the heart of the Redcliffe area. The initiative is linked to wider regeneration plans, placing the church at the heart of a new urban village within the city centre.

The concept design images can be viewed on the competition website.

The Reverend Dan Tyndall, Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe, said:

‘The brief for the competition is focused on making the church truly outward-facing in its three aspects as a place of worship, community hub and visitor destination. So we’re delighted that these proposals re-present the church and its functions to the street, whilst respecting the elemental heritage quality of this Grade I listed building.
‘The balance of different design judgements is fascinating: some re-animating formal processional routes, some conceiving the garden as a dynamic focus and some reconnecting the church to the urban context, anticipating future changes in the current road layout. We very much look forward to the jury and, ultimately, choosing a winner.’

David Hamilton, Project Director of competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants, said:

‘The teams responded whole-heartedly to the design challenge here: to assess and realise the potential of the possible areas for development within the church’s overall site, whilst reflecting the ambitions of the brief. The new amenities are necessarily dispersed but offer the chance to create new creative connections and new perspectives – a metaphor, really, for the overall project.’

Announced in February, 2016 the finalist teams are (in alphabetical order):

  • Carmody Groarke
  • dRMM
  • Eric Parry Architects
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Purcell

Fifty-three practices entered the competition and of these international studios accounted for nearly twenty per cent. The competition jury includes journalist, broadcaster and author Simon Jenkins, and Bristol-based contemporary artist Luke Jerram, who was responsible for the Park and Slide installation, which turned Bristol’s Park Street into a giant water slide.

An exhibition of the concept designs will be held at the church from Monday 25th April to Friday 6th May, 2016, with jury interviews taking place in May and the winner announcement expected shortly afterwards.

St Mary Redcliffe is notable for its connection with many important historical figures, including George Frederick Handel and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It has links with America through artefacts relating to John Cabot’s voyage of 1497 and Admiral Penn – the latter, the namesake of Pennsylvania, is buried within the church.

Elizabeth I described St Mary Redcliffe as ‘the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England’. The church attracts tens of thousands of visitors and tourists annually. Built, and then re-built, over a 300-year period from the early 13th century to the 15th century, the church embodies magnificence, but has always lacked sufficient community and support spaces for its vital work in one of the most deprived wards in the country.