View all news

University receives garden design award for Life Sciences external realm

Brian Worthington and Professor Sir Eric Thomas at the unveiling of the plaque

Brian Worthington (left), Chairman of the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society, congratulates the Vice-Chancellor as the plaque designating the garden design award is unveiled

4 August 2015

The University celebrated the official opening of the external realm of the Life Sciences Building last week, and received an award in recognition of excellence in garden design from the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society (CHIS).

The award scheme is a new initiative from CHIS, which aims to improve and preserve local amenities and maintain quality of life within the area. The University’s award is the second accolade to be bestowed by CHIS under the new scheme, and the first to be awarded for a project in the public realm.

The new landscaped area links Royal Fort Garden to St Michael's Hill and Tyndall Avenue, and marks the completion of the University’s £56.5 million Life Sciences Building project. The building itself was officially opened last autumn by natural history film-maker Sir David Attenborough, who planted the first tree in the newly landscaped gardens.

The landscaped area includes paving, a variety of seating, the renovated Grade II listed Ivy Gate, and extensive flower, shrub and tree planting that complements the curvilinear design. Planting reflects the teaching within the Life Sciences Building, and includes a number of unusual specimens provided by the University’s Botanic Garden, such as the Celery Pine (Phyllocladus trichomanoides), a primitive broadleaved conifer, along with Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis), Maidenhair trees (Ginkgo biloba), Dawn redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), horsetails and ferns – all ancient plants that are living representatives of plants in fossil records. Care has been taken to include plants that provide rich nectar sources for pollinators, including Eucryphia x nymansensis ‘Nymansay’, a type of leatherwood.

One of the key aims of the project was to open the extended garden area to the public as well as the University community via a new stairway from St Michael’s Hill that takes visitors past the living wall, a striking vertical garden on the outside of the Life Sciences Building that stands over 20 metres above street level.

Patrick Finch, Bursar and Director of Estates, said: ‘We’re delighted to receive the CHIS award for what is the University’s largest landscaping project for many years. It’s fitting that the project has been completed in Green Capital year, and we welcome neighbours and members of the public to the new garden.’

The ceremony marked the last official engagement for Professor Sir Eric Thomas, the University’s outgoing Vice-Chancellor.

Further information

The University of Bristol is proud to be part of a city-wide initiative to make Bristol a world leader in sustainability as part of its designation as European Green Capital 2015. Contributing to the collective efforts of 800+ organisations, the University is hosting a series of events, seminars and public debates that build on its long-standing ambition to generate knowledge that will shape a future we all want to live in. From research that tackles the challenges of environmental uncertainty, through to voluntary community projects that see students engaging with local residents, the University has pledged its commitment to the lasting legacy of #Bristol2015.

For further details, and to join the conversation, visit us @BristolUni and

Edit this page