Originally built as a church, the Grade II* listed St George’s is a successful concert hall and performance centre in Bristol.
As audience numbers have grown over the years, the circulation spaces outside the main auditorium have become increasingly congested. To rectify this, our client wanted to build a bold, two-storey extension that will increase the capacity of the main concert hall and give the venue a dynamic new identity.
BuroHappold Engineering was appointed to provide multidisciplinary services across this project, and throughout our work we kept our client’s main aim of improving the visitor experience at the forefront of our mind.
As the concert hall is Grade II* listed, our team had to develop a building services strategy that would meet the sustainability requirements set out by the Heritage Lottery Fund without compromising the beauty of this historic building.
In addition, St George’s Bristol is famed for its acoustics, so our building services engineers had to carefully consider the interrelationship between the interior spaces to ensure that interventions, such as natural ventilation, could be used to create a pleasant visitor environment in the new extension, without adversely affecting the sound quality in the main auditorium.
In response to our client’s aim to improve the visitor experience, our experts undertook people modelling analysis to inform the size and position of several entrances to the new extension. These will improve circulation inside the venue by increasing the number of entry points, as well as providing superior disabled access. In addition, the ground floor crypt is to be converted into an exhibition and education space that will further add to the visitor experience.
Our building services engineers undertook extensive testing of their systems and solutions to ensure that they could be incorporated across the existing concert hall and the new extension, to create a seamless visitor experience. This rigorous concept development and analysis also allowed us to develop passive and energy efficient strategies that wont compromise the acoustics of the venue, but will meet the strict criteria of the Heritage Lottery Fund. These include replacing the old boilers and future proofing the plant so that it can be connected to a district heating system in the future.
Working alongside the architect and wider project team, our engineers have developed a design for a new extension at St George’s that will enable the venue to continue to delight audiences and become a concert hall to rival the world’s finest.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply