An agile workplace designed to attract and retain talent

The Distillery, Glassfields

Location Bristol
Client Royal London Asset Management
Awards Shortlisted for Constructing Excellence South West Building Project of the Year / Health, Safety & Wellbeing Award 2021 and shortlisted for Michelmores Property Awards Project of the Year (over £5 million)

A brief history

During the 1970s, this central Bristol site was cleared to make way for the Guardian Royal Exchange office, demolished in 2010.

Plot 2, occupying 0.32 hectares within the overall 1.3 hectare development, hosts the first phase of the masterplan, a 90,000sqft commercial office development. Now named ‘The Distillery’, Plot 2 references the site’s heritage as home to the Bristol Distillery Company from 1880 until 1940.

Vision

The focus is on creating the best workplace for people to flourish.

This fully flexible design blurs the edges of inside and outside, with people able to move freely through the spaces.

The buildings are not a regular shape: they are set at angles to allow for visual and physical connectivity. Allowing people to see further entices them through the site.

Project delivery

Instead of a traditional essential core, we have created a central vibrant heart space.

The theme is connection and connectivity, encouraging interaction and cross-pollination of ideas and relationships across the floors, with the link bridge designed to connect people physically and metaphorically.

The Distillery has been designed to be extremely flexible in use, with floorplates intended for occupation by one or two tenants and the building to be single let or in multi-tenant occupation.

Sustainability

The Distillery is targeting BREEAM Excellent, EPC A and Fitwel accreditation. The building’s ability to address occupier wellness, health and wellbeing has been key throughout the design process.

This design champions the improvement of occupant wellbeing, employee performance, retention and recruitment.

User experience

There are three key themes.

Connect: there are many different opportunities for people to interact, crossover and collaborate such as on the central feature staircase, link bridges, and in the amenity spaces.

Dynamic: the site encourages users to flow through and around the buildings both vertically and horizontally.

Vibrant: the uniform street front facades offer a contrast to the internal heart with its multisensory full height green wall, copper clad reception and circulation area. This covered outdoor space encourages people to take a breath of fresh air and relax.

Wellbeing

The intent is to put the control of the environment into the hands of the occupiers. The occupants can choose to open windows and enjoy natural free cooling. The design maximises views out and offers a range of work settings: quiet, collaborative and flexible.

The external Street is both a link space and a covered area to work, meet and relax: a garden for all building users. Additional key Fitwel criteria include excellent cycle and shower provision and highly visible stairs to encourage occupants to walk.

Looking to the future

The Distillery is part of the main Glassfields masterplan. AWW is also designing and delivering the Leonardo's Hotel on Plot 4, including the creation of bespoke interior design.

Reception

Designed to draw visitors into these internal spaces, the reception communicates the building concept with natural materials which play on colour and texture.

The Street

The heart of the Distillery with entrances, staircase and collaboration space. The street communicates the building's arrangement and connects the floor plates and occupants to the building’s vision.

“An amazing street space forms the heart of the building and connects floorplates through a central street space arranged to invoke collaboration and creative thinking with meeting and breakout areas.”

Mark Alker Stone, Project Director

Context

The building exterior contributes to the streetscape and adopts a warehouse aesthetic synonymous with Bristol's harbourside locations.

Ground floor plan

Three separate workplaces linked with an internal streets and collaboration spaces designed to suit single and multiple occupancy: a flexible arrangement as Phase 1 of the Glassfields masterplan.

Workplace

A combination of exposed services complimenting the exposed concrete soffit and natural ventilation creates a light commercial office area.

Glassfields masterplan

The proposal offers tangible local benefits by recognising and enhancing the pedestrian and cycle links through the site.