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Senate House refurbishment nominated for five awards

Senate House - article

The new atrium at Senate House Photo by FCB Studios/ Rebecca Noakes

Senate House downstairs - thumb

Press release issued: 24 September 2021

The refurbishment that transformed Senate House from ‘60s admin building to modern bar/restaurant, co-working space and student hub has been nominated for five awards.

The space now boasts an impressive new atrium, Source Marketplace food court and new Student Union-run Beckford Bar, which can together fit 500 people.

On the ground floor it houses the SU Loft, where students can work and relax, and the new Student Information service.

The recently-completed second phase of the project has delivered the Global Lounge, a cultural hub where the 150-plus nationalities that study at the University can connect.

Above this are study areas, a multi-faith prayer room, a collaborative space for postgraduate research students and an extended SU Living Room, which now spans the entire fourth floor and includes a the University’s first sensory room.

At the top of the building on the fifth floor are student meeting and activity rooms, offering far reaching views across the city.

The project team, led by the University’s Capital Developments team and designed by architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley (FCB) Studios, brought a new modern look to the building, improved the building’s exterior, made it more sustainable and added a double-height extension to house the new atrium.

The vision for the newly refurbished space was developed in partnership with the University’s students, providing them with a welcoming place of their own in the heart of our campus.

Alongside Capital Development and FCB Studios, the project teams that delivered phase one were made up of Kier, AECOM, Curtins and Atkins.

The first-phase of the Senate House has been shortlisted as part of the:

  • Building Design Architect of the Year’s Higher Education Award
  • Building Design Architect of the Year’s Refurbishment Award
  • Building Design Architect of the Year’s Sustainable Architect of the Year Award  
  • Building Awards 2021 Refurbishment Project of the Year
  • The Constructing Excellence Awards’ Conservation & Rejuvenation Award

Professor Judith Squires, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor, said: “The University has changed in so many ways since Senate House was built in 1961.

"We wanted a building that reflected those changes, putting the students at the heart of our campus. It was a real joy to work with students to shape a vision for this newly refurbished landmark building to create a place they could make their own.

“The resulting design and build deliver on our shared vision brilliantly. It is incredibly pleasing to see the refurbishment nominated for so many awards.”

The refurbishment is part of The University’s Campus Heart Programme, which has already seen a new indoor sports facility built on Tyndall Avenue and the granting of planning permission for a new library, which will house 420,000 books and 70,000 journals. 

Nick Hodges, Associate at FCB Studios, said “Senate House shows the potential for transformational change, as a refurbished and extended building, but most importantly for its users.

“At the outset the University of Bristol identified that their purpose-built 1960s administration building could be a key part of creating a new staff and student experience; bringing support services, social spaces and the Students’ Union right into the heart of the campus precinct.

“We are hugely proud to have been a part of this project, and we hope that this revitalised Senate House will also be a part of a transformational city campus experience.”

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