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Wills HQ redesign set to make a Splash

Regional architect Acanthus Ferguson Mann and developer Urban Splash are to transform the redundant Wills factory office headquarters in Imperial Park, Hartcliffe Way, Bristol.

The Grade II-listed building - which has an external Cor-Ten steel frame - was originally designed by renowned US architect York Rosenberg Mardall and Skidmore Owings and Merrill in the 1970s.

Managing director of Urban Splash's South West operation Jason Collard said: 'Urban Splash's South West plans will transform the site into a sensitive combination of residential and commercial space, and will inject a much needed boost of life into the area, which is already undergoing a massive amount of regeneration.'

Urban Splash and RIBA president George Ferguson's practice plan a mixed-use refurbishment scheme. The project currently has the working title 'Imperial House'.

It will feature around 250 apartments and 100,000m 2of commercial space for retail, arts, leisure and office space.

A planning application for the site is currently under development and is scheduled to go to planning this summer.

When it was first built, the building featured a factory with production area and office headquarters linked together by an underground passage.

The factory was demolished in 1997 and this was followed by the removal of the office headquarters' windows and exterior cladding, leaving the building's shell and external frame.

by Rob Sharp

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