Paintworks, Bristol

Using the past to stimulate new enterprise

We acted for workspace developers Verve in designing the third and largest phase (circa. £30m) of the very successful employment generating project known as Paintworks in South Bristol.

Paintworks represents a regeneration model very different from the normal investment company led development vehicle.

The scheme seeks to blend new economic life carefully with the social and cultural life of the existing community in line with Verve’s ethos. Our Phase III proposals included 200,000 sq ft of non-residential uses and 220 mixed private purchase, affordable dwellings and live/work.

Growing the high density mix of uses, the day/evening/weekend vitality and the valuable neighbourhood such projects need required strong principles to be followed. It was important to avoid vehicle dominated design to create people friendly character and support spontaneous on-street cultural activity and community life.

Phase III has taken management responsibility for a large area of under-utilised public open space – opening up new circulation networks and spreading its influence much further afield.

So often the historic buildings and places of past industry can prove fertile ground for nurturing new economic life. The Paintworks buildings – once used for paint manufacturing – have adapted well to one of the UK’s most stimulating new work environments.