St Mary Redcliffe Design Competition shortlist announced

Finalists excelled in showing client-centred approaches along with fundraising and public engagement experience

29 St Marys shortlist
© Malcolm Reading Consultants/Emily Whitfield-Wicks

St Mary Redcliffe and Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) today [February 18, 2016] announced the five finalist teams selected to develop concept designs in the second stage of 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 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 decision of the selection panel which included representatives of the jury, St Mary Redcliffe and competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants was unanimous.

The £12-15m project will give the church new community, social and support facilities. The initiative is linked to wider regeneration plans, placing the church at the heart of a new urban village within Bristol’s city centre.

Finalist teams will be attending the forthcoming public symposium ‘Architecture and the contemporary church – imagining the new in the context of the old’ which will be hosted at the church on 23 February 2016. Speakers include Loyd Grossman, journalist, broadcaster and Chairman of The Churches Conservation Trust, and the Right Reverend Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury. (See Notes to editors below for further details).

Finalists have until mid-April to produce their concept designs.

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

‘We would like to thank all the architects who entered the competition – we were hugely impressed by their seriousness and dedication, the standard of submissions was very high.
‘Our development project is focused on expanding our local outreach and mission whilst increasing people’s awareness and enjoyment of the church and now that the design phase of the competition is underway, we want to share that excitement. Next week’s symposium will be an opportunity for the local community to meet representatives of the shortlisted architects.’

David Hamilton, Architect and Director of Projects at MRC, said:

‘In selecting the finalist teams, what distinguished the successful applicants was their client-centred approach and previous experience in fundraising and stakeholder engagement. This was demonstrated through a diverse range of previous projects that have all made a positive contribution to setting and place-making, and through this to transforming local communities.’

Following a public exhibition of the concept designs, the winning team is expected to be announced in late May 2016.

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.

The development project, the focus of this design competition, will incorporate a range of facilities within a building or buildings: administrative and support spaces, exhibition spaces, a café, a shop, a meeting hall, and an expanded/new community centre.

The initiative will run concurrently with a wider regeneration project, The Redcliffe Neighbourhood Development Plan, which positions the church as the focus of a new urban village within the Redcliffe area.