Bristol-based housing association Brighter Places and the Bristol Housing Festival have announced five local architect teams shortlisted for the next stage of a design competition to create an innovative affordable housing scheme on Midland Road in Bristol’s Old Market Quarter.
The competition invited architects with an office in the West of England Combined Authority area to submit solutions-focused proposals for a 100% affordable development of exceptional quality. The aim is to deliver a flagship scheme of around 70 homes that the local area, is as climate smart as possible to reduce costs for residents and supports the city’s climate goals.
All competition entries were reviewed by a judging panel which included which representatives from the Old Market Community Association (OMCA) and Brighter Places residents as well as Brighter Places and Bristol Housing Festival.
The judging panel was impressed by the quality and standard of all the submissions and subsequently decided to increase the number of designs to progress to stage two from three to five.
The five architects shortlisted to progress their designs in the second stage of the competition are: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris; BDP; Pick Everard; Ferguson Mann Architects and Alec French Architects.
The shortlisted firms will now enter the second stage of the competition, which will include a design workshop with the local community and stakeholders. Following a final judging panel, the successful design will be announced in December 2023.
Sally Gilbert, Homes Director for Brighter Places, said; “This is an exciting and demanding design challenge so we were delighted to receive such high quality and creative submissions from local architects to create a flagship scheme of 100% affordable low carbon, energy efficient homes close to Bristol city centre that creates a sense of community. We look forward to working with the shortlisted teams and local community in the next stage of the competition before the final judging panel chooses the winning design later this year.”
Brighter Places resident engagement panel chair, Peter Kennedy-Watson, who is on the design competition judging panel said, “As a judging panel we were impressed by the high quality and carefully considered designs submitted by local architects. As a Brighter Places resident, I am particularly interested in seeing how the shortlisted designs create energy efficient homes in a development that fosters a sense of belonging.”
Fellow panel judge Councillor Yassin Mohamud who represents the local Lawrence Hill ward said, “Creating much-needed affordable homes in the Midland Road area has the potential to bring many benefits to local residents. The design for this development has to balance the needs of the community with the demand for energy efficient affordable housing. I look forward to seeing how the shortlisted architects fine tune their proposals to achieve these aims.”
In response to being shortlisted for the next stage of the Midland Road design competition the architect firms said;
Alec French Architects: “Alec French Architects are delighted to have been shortlisted for the next stages of this exciting competition. This ambitious brief requires a unique solution in order to reimagine how high density living can also provide high quality, affordable homes. Our proposal seeks to provide a vibrant, multi-storey community held together through a co-designed vertical landscape. This framework sits in the space between three highly functional point blocks and holds the community together while putting the safety and lived experience of future residents first. We look forward to developing these ideas further with the client team, stakeholder and local community groups.”
BDP: “BDP are delighted to be shortlisted for the next stage of the Midland Road Design Competition and are excited about the opportunity to work with Brighter Places on delivering an affordable housing scheme for the people of Bristol. We have designed 70 dual aspect homes around the concept of ‘Climate Positive Communities’, which adopts exemplar sustainability credentials. We know that healthy buildings, which are safe, warm and affordable to run, mean happy residents with a strong sense of belonging. We hope the design principles we are proposing for Midland Road will set a precedent for future affordable housing in Bristol.”
Pick Everard: “Our proposal for 40-48 Midland Road delivers a high-density neighbourhood experience to create a real sense of place that contributes to residents’ health and wellbeing. At its heart, the public space, vertical gardens, and roof terrace will be the fulcrum of social life; providing a setting for residents to engage and interact as a shared community. Each home is dual aspect, open plan and adaptable, incorporating ‘working from home’ solutions and private amenity space. We are extremely pleased to be shortlisted for the Midland Road Design Competition and to see our design concept recognised by the judging panel.”
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM): “AHMM’s proposal for Midland Road in Bristol looks to re-integrate a new city block seamlessly into the rapidly evolving neighbourhood. The design places residents’ experience at its core. It features spacious dual-aspect homes arranged around a three-sided atrium, fostering community interactions. The building’s brick façade complements the local context, and a more playful green central space adds a natural element as a backdrop to daily life. AHMM are delighted to be shortlisted for Stage 2 of this competition. It’s a really exciting brief.”
Ferguson Mann: “As a local practice, Ferguson Mann Architects are thrilled to be shortlisted for what promises to be a bright project for Bristol. Our entry focused on addressing the joint challenges of housing quality, loneliness and climate change – to create a community as well as provide much needed affordable and low energy homes. We relish this opportunity for innovative placemaking with space for neighbourliness, relaxation, bikes and green thumbs.”
Harry Evans from the Brighter Places Development team talks about the design competition in this video: