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28 March 2013

Three concepts shortlisted for proposed redesign of the front of the Bristol Royal Infirmary

Three architects have been shortlisted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) to redevelop the front of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). The shortlist of three was chosen from a group of six architects and artists who put forward concept designs. 

A public open day to view all of the six proposed concepts was held on 7 March and was attended by around 400 people from across Bristol. 

The six designs were shortlisted to three by a panel overseeing the project, which includes representatives from UH Bristol, the Bristol creative community and art consultancy Willis Newson who is overseeing the commission. 

The shortlisted designs are:

1. 'Veil' by Nieto Sobejano,an architectural office established in Madrid, Spain.

2. 'Vertical Garden' by Tham and Videgard, progressive and contemporary architects and designers based in Stockholm, Sweden.

3. 'Light and Air' by Solid Objectives - Idenburg Liu (SO-IL), an idea-driven design office based in New York, USA. 

To shortlist the concepts the panel met with each of the artists/architects, who presented their designs and answered questions about how the design would be implemented. Each member of the panel scored the designs based on how closely they matched the selection criteria outlined in the brief and how well the artists/architects responded to their questions. These scores were then collated into a final consensus score. Feedback from the public open day and an online poll was factored into the scoring matrix. 

Robert Woolley, Chief Executive of UH Bristol, said: "The range of reactions we received on each of the concepts were very helpful in the decision-making process. We used this feedback to help shape the questions we asked the artists and architects. 

"The results from the public poll were taken into account in the second of our scoring criteria, which was to 'create a hospital façade that is non-threatening and welcoming', on the basis that this was an area that the public are well placed to judge.  

"Existing proposals for the front of the BRI include the replacement of all of the windows as well as some necessary structural work, but this project provides an exciting opportunity to see how much more we can do to improve the appearance of the BRI. 

"We are delighted to be working with such high calibre designers." 

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

The shortlisted concepts will now be expanded and presented to the panel and Trust Board in July 2013, when a final decision will be made. Further opportunities for public engagement activities are being considered for this final part of the process.