The Bristol Housing Festival has launched an open contest to design a £1.1-to-1.9 million accommodation block for students at the Trinity College theological school
The competition seeks innovative proposals that harness modern methods of construction (MMC) to create a ‘student village’ for the religious training institute based inside the Grade II*-listed Stoke House on the edge of Bristol.
The phased project will deliver accommodation for up to 60 students in a mix of configurations including co-living units of between three and five bedrooms. Shortlisted teams will be invited to present their concepts to the college’s site development group in March and may also be commissioned to further develop their designs before the announcement of a winner in April.
Trinity College site development lead Malcolm Bourne said: ‘The architecture competition is a really exciting venture, which will allow us to provide innovative and sustainable accommodation for our students. We’re looking to pursue a broader vision for housing and community-building that aligns with the vision of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community and its focus on “building better communities and homes, not just houses”.’
Bristol Housing Festival project director Jez Sweetland added: ‘Trinity College shares our vision of exploring the potential of MMC, as well as our values of community inclusivity and sustainability – it’s fantastic to be working in partnership with them. The competition presents a truly enriching opportunity to trial new ideas not only for the college but for the wider housing sector.’
Trinity College is based inside a 1669 country house in the Stoke Bishop suburb of Bristol. The school provides full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses and typically hosts around 300 people on the site every day.
The latest project will provide environmentally sustainable accommodation for residential students currently living in the Carter Building. Once the student village is complete, a new teaching and learning space featuring an auditorium and guest bedrooms may later be delivered on the Carter Building site.
The Bristol Housing Festival, launched in 2018, has been promoting innovations such as smart technology and off-site manufacturing as a way to deliver quality, affordable housing. The five-year programme is supported by Bristol City Council, Bristol and Bath Regional Capital, WECA and The Shaftesbury Partnership.
The overall winner will be commissioned to work with the college to draw up working designs for the new student village which is planned to start on site in 2021.
The deadline for applications is 9am, 13 March.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
Malcolm Bourne, property and facilities manager and site development lead at Trinity College
Why are you holding a competition for new student accommodation at Trinity College?
This project is all about creative and sustainable design rather than providing run-of-the-mill accommodation, so we wanted to run it in a different way. Both the Bristol Housing Festival and Trinity College think that throwing wide the competition to everyone is the best way to discover fresh thinking and high-quality design.
Society around us is developing new thinking on affordable and sustainable living spaces that could inform the way we build. We believe we have something to offer by way of intentional community that others outside the college community could both learn from and adapt for different settings.
What is your vision for the accommodation complex?
We are hoping to redevelop our site because of a growing need for new accommodation and we are seeking a partner who can understand the vocation of the college and how the building could impact on shaping the future of theological and ministerial training. We have an opportunity to align with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community’s vision of ’building better communities and homes, not just houses.’ We would also help form patterns of living for many younger ordinands going into church and community leadership.
Our existing residential community sets the tone for the wider college and is its ‘beating heart’. The encouragement and joy that students experience from living together was evident in our recent consultation. To maintain and enhance this, we need new accommodation for on-site students.
The college campus is just under four hectares and we’ve highlighted five plots for a potential student village within that. The village design should include multiple units with private accommodation of between three and five bedrooms, with at least two of the units linked in some way for possible, larger co-living of 10 people. The design needs to be adaptable, for use by single sharers or for couples and families. All units will need some communal space such as dining and lounges areas. The village should have capacity for a minimum of 30 students whilst ensuring options to grow the capacity to 60 plus students later on.
The campus has wonderful trees, landscaping and biodiversity. Our main house is also Grade II*-listed. The new student village design will need to complement and respect these beautiful and historic surroundings.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
Although the project is relatively small, we’re offering an open invitation to everyone. The competition is as inclusive and flexible as possible so creativity and talent can flourish. We don’t have any preconceived ideas about who can apply – it’s going to be really exciting to see what ideas emerge.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
The second phase of our development will be a new teaching and guest centre offering a lecture hall with capacity for 200 people, and 40 ensuite bedrooms. This is likely to be begin a few years after the student village. We haven’t decided yet whether to run a design competition for this phase.
Are there any other recent similar MMC projects you have been impressed by?
The Bristol Housing Festival supported by Bristol City Council, is aiming to bring about new affordable and sustainable housing across Bristol. We’ve been particularly impressed by LaunchPad and ZEDpods, both MMC projects in Bristol that have come about through the festival. LaunchPad opened last year and ZEDpods is expected to open in the Spring. Both offer social housing to young people and have had intentional thinking around how the buildings can facilitate healthy community. We also saw great examples of MMC homes at the festival’s launch exhibition in October 2018.