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06 March 2013

Have your say on a new look Bristol Royal Infirmary

The Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) - once voted one of the ugliest buildings in Bristol - is set for a makeover. Proposals for the front of the BRI will include the replacement of all of the windows as well as some necessary structural work but the scheme will also include an exciting new look for the façade. Since the end of last year, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) has been working with six international artists/architects on design concepts to improve the appearance of the BRI Queen's Building.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to see and comment on the designs at UH Bristol's Education and Research Centre (Lecture Theatre 1), Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol, BS2 8AE from 10am until 7pm on Thursday 7 March.

The refurbishment of the front of the Queen's Building forms part of a wider programme of work currently underway across the BRI that incorporates a new ward block, helipad and Welcome Centre, due to be completed in 2014.

Robert Woolley, chief executive of UH Bristol, said: "I am really excited to have got international designers of this calibre giving us their ideas for changing the look of the BRI. I hope members of the public and our staff will tell us what they think of the different designs.

 "We have long recognised that the appearance of BRI is not one that reflects the quality of care we give, and the redevelopment project presents the opportunity to create a more positive first impression whether people are coming to the hospital or travelling through Bristol.

"As part of our major estate investment across the Trust the BRI frontage will be updated with new windows and receive a face-lift to improve its energy efficiency and sustainability but also its overall appearance.

"We are looking for innovative designs for a hospital frontage that is welcoming for patients and visitors, reflects the excellent care that is delivered inside and which Bristolians can truly be proud of."

The six proposed designs will be shortlisted to a maximum of three by a panel overseeing the project, which includes representatives from UH Bristol and the Bristol creative community. Art consultancy Willis Newson is overseeing the commission. The shortlisted artists/architects will each expand their concept designs, which will then be presented to the panel and Trust board in July 2013 when a decision will be made.

The selected artists/architects will work in collaboration with CODA Architects, lead designers for the redevelopment.

Craig Bennett for CODA Architects, said: "The challenge for the appointed artist or architect will be to explore how the existing design could be taken to the next level aesthetically, while meeting all the technical, environmental and maintenance considerations. It is a really exciting project."