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RESTAURANTS & BARS PROJECT REPORT


25


development, Chandlers House, was sold to Sovereign Living, a shared ownership and market rent provider – that the scheme could take off. “To be honest with you, I will sing the council’s praises because they really wanted [Wapping Wharf] to happen,” Hatton adds.


In the meantime, Alec French Architects were fine-tuning the masterplan, which had to go through rigorous consultation with local councillors and concerned residents before being approved. Mark Osborne, director of Alec French, explains: “We had some very successful public consultations – although there were local residents who were very cautious about overdevelopment and the nature of the scheme as a whole; they were worried about heights, for example.”


There was general consensus that the


area’s heritage had to be preserved, and the architects were tasked with creating a devel- opment that was sympathetic to the gritty character of Bristol's harbourside. Osborne, however, argued that his prac- tice had little to reflect on when deciding on the scheme’s overall design. He comments: “Surprisingly, not much has been done to form this ‘dock’ character. So I wanted to see something more of the character of a ‘wharf’, with steep roofs and a mix of mate- rials, particularly on the retail units where we have incorporated corten steel in between the glazing and some stone plinths, as well as some steel sections for the signage on the side.”


ADF APRIL 2017


This resulted in the architects specifying materials that contributed to the area’s makeup, acknowledging its industrial past but also the modern appetite for rugged yet refined finishes.


Site specifics


Wapping Wharf, as the development is aptly named, is being carried out as a three- stage project regenerating a harbourside conservation area with rich history. The site was previously occupied by Bristol’s 19th century New Gaol prison and the architects had to masterplan around some of the remaining structures, including the pitch- roof stone stables that are now transformed into a pizza restaurant. Railway tracks, a legacy of the Great Western Railway’s oper- ations in the early 20th century, are retained to the north end of the site. Phase 1 of the development, which commenced in 2014, saw the creation of multi-storey residential buildings clad in what the architects refer to as a “burnt stock” type brick’. Those house a number of glass-fronted retail units at ground level, alongside a new pedestrian route – Gaol Ferry Steps – that connects the Southville area across the river to the south with Museum Street to the north.


Once residents had got used to the new access following Phase 1’s completion in 2016, it didn’t take long for Wapping Wharf to catch on as a food and drink destination. Says Osborne: “One of the secrets of the success of this little street is the fact that it is


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The new retail street connects the Southville area in the south with Museum Street in Bristol’s harbourside to the north © Jon Craig


The architects specified materials that contributed to the area’s makeup, acknowledging its


industrial past but also the modern appetite for rugged yet refined finishes


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