Colston Hall, Bristol

“Just as the timber internally resonates with the string instruments of an orchestra, the copper shingles evoke the brass section, with constant variations of light enhanced by the curved geometry of the building form.”

 Axel Burrough – Lead Architect

Colston Hall is Bristol’s principal music venue. The main hall was opened in 1867 as an assembly hall to rival St. George’s Hall in Liverpool. Colston Hall has been radically remodeled three times since then, the last occasion being in 1951. A three-phase project updates all the facilities to create a modern complex, attractive to all ages and all musical tastes.

The first phase demolishes an adjoining building to create a spacious new foyer, with its own informal performance area, a link between Bristol’s Centre and West End. The new foyer building is designed to have an independent architectural identity, expressing the desire to provide Bristol’s public with an entirely new concert-going experience.

A combination of musical and contextual references underlies the design and has informed the selection of materials. The dilapidated High Victorian Lesser Hall building is restored and converted in Phase 2, and Phase 3 improves the main hall, expands and enhances the backstage areas and provides a new get-in.

Arup Consultants in Bristol, have planned a layered approach to the lighting design, the ceiling being gently washed with fluorescent fixtures, incorporating Zumtobel fluorescent luminaires in the handrails at low level, and iGuzzini Le Perroquet spotlights at high level. The metal halide Le Perroquet spotlights, designed by Renzo Piano, have both a number of different wattages and lighting distributions, whilst also elegantly integrating the emergency lighting.

Client: Bristol City Council
Architect: Levitt Bernstein
Consultants: Arup
Electrical Contractor: Lorne Stewart
Construction Value:  £21M
Lighting: iGuzzini
Completion:  2009 (Phase 1)

Awards:  Bristol Civic Society, Environmental Award 2010 South West Built Environment Awards 2010, Project of the Year LABC Building Excellence Awards 2010, Commended RIBA Award 2010, Shortlisted RIBA South West Town and Country Design Awards 2010, Shortlisted
Photography: Simon Doling Photography