unity street, bristol
Comprising 200 student rooms and studios together with 50 private and affordable residential units, this ambitious project, on a site adjoining RDA’s 12 storey Print Hall building, was granted consent in July 2016. Sitting within the Old Market Conservation Area within the historic ‘Backlands’, the design team were able to draw upon the draw upon and extend the extensive contextual analysis that was undertaken at the time of the Print Hall application in order to inform the consideration of options for the site. The experience gained in consultation with the OMCA, BUDF, the Civic Society and BCC’s planning and urban design officers was also invaluable and enabled the dialogue and engagement to continue including design workshops and reviews.
At the heart of these proposals are the reconfiguration and opening up of a large, inaccessible private garden and the relocation of a non-adopted street, Hawkins Street, that also fell within the site ownership. These principles formed the basis of a strategy to help fulfil the objectives to create a new publicly accessible park and a more pedestrian friendly extension of the north-south David Street pedestrian route, as envisioned in the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
The relocation of Hawkins Street also had the benefit of creating two more regular, efficient development plots within which a group of unlisted buildings of merit, identified by the Conservation Area Character Assessment, were able to be retained and integrated within the design. Moving Hawkins Street further to the east also helps to improve the level of pedestrian connectivity between Jacob Street and Unity Street providing an additional north-south connection with Old Market.