The Distillery, Glassfields
Part of the Glassfields masterplan, The Distillery in Bristol is a nine-storey premium office composed of two buildings, complete with facing brick. The site is believed to have previously been occupied by Bristol Distillery Company between 1880 and 1940, which was then cleared to make way for the Guardian Royal Exchange office in 1970, later demolished in 2010.
Designed by AWW Architects and developed by Kier Construction for client Royal London Asset Management, this luxury complex has provided the area with 93,500 sq.ft of commercial office space, including bike storage and outdoor green communal areas. The development is situated in the heart of Glassfields, Bristol and offers a flexible workplace within walking distance of the Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station and the popular retail and leisure area of Cabot Circus.
Since its completion, the development has been recognised for its success as a commercial development in the Bristol Property Awards. It has also been shortlisted for several architectural accolades including the CIBSE Building Performance Awards 2022, Constructing Excellence South West Building Project of the Year and Health, Safety and Wellbeing Award 2021, and Michelmores Property Awards Project of the Year.
Concept to Completion
The Distillery creates a fully flexible and mixed-used workplace that allows people to connect and collaborate through the communal spaces allocated on every floor. The architect’s design focused on three key user experience themes; connect, dynamic, and vibrant. By following these key themes, the architect has created a space that encourages people to flow through and around the buildings whilst creating opportunities for them to crossover and interact. The concept not only encourages people to connect with each other but also encourages them to connect with nature through the green outdoor area located in the “street”.
The development is composed of a core office-reception space and two symmetrical office wings joined by a series of link bridges and internal streets designed to suit single or multi-tenant occupancy. Staying on theme, the office buildings are set at angles to encourage physical and mental connectivity both internally and externally. Due to the historic nature of the site, the architects wanted to include several glassmaking and distillery features into the facade, including the large number of windows and glass panels to symbolise the district’s glassmaking history. Copper design touches were used in both the interior and exterior of the buildings as well as the incorporation of a living wall of botanicals in one of the building’s facades to represent the gin distillery history.
Taylor Maxwell worked closely with AWW Architects to specify and supply a textured, buff coloured facing brick for the new building. This brick was carefully considered to produce a building that blends smoothly into the landscape and continues the warehouse aesthetic, synonymous with Bristol’s harbourside location.
AWW Architects designed The Distillery with its occupiers’ wellness, health, and wellbeing in mind, clearly focusing the commercial development around employee performance, retention and recruitment. Their aim was to put the control of the environment into the hands of the occupiers by providing the necessary facilities to do so, including excellent cycle and shower provisions and electric car charging points. The design included photovoltaic panels on the roof to produce its own renewable energy and a green living wall to promote natural biodiversity and boost mental wellbeing. The project has achieved a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’, EPC A, WiredScore certification and Fitwell accreditation. This makes the project a fantastic example of how to evolve a site to meet the sustainability requirements of today's industry and planet.