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C20 Society submits MJP Bristol scheme for listing

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The Twentieth Century Society has submitted a scheme for listing designed by MacCormack Jamieson Pritchard (MJP) following concerns over the University of Bristol’s plans for a new humanities hub 

The university is seeking planning permission to develop a new two-storey building (pictured) for its School of Humanities, designed by ADP Architecture. This would provide two large flexible teaching rooms, two seminar rooms, a 100-seat cinema and a 240-seat lecture theatre as well as offices, meeting rooms and study space.  

This new block would connect to an existing series of Grade II-listed villas on Woodland Road, which house much of the Faculty of Arts, via single-storey glazed links. 

Buildings designed by MJP and built between 1979 and 1983 sit behind the villas, housing academic accommodation, common rooms, social and learning spaces, and administrative offices, and form a series of courtyards. The first phase of these extensions would be demolished under the development proposals. 

Tess Pinto, conservation adviser at The Twentieth Century Society, which will be objecting to the planning application and has submitted an application for listing for the Faculty of Arts to Historic England, said the part of MJP’s scheme threatened with demolition had not originally been connected to the architect’s later phases of work but was now.  

She said: ‘We are concerned that if this part of the scheme goes there’s nothing stopping the rest of the scheme going the same way.’ 

Pinto said MJP’s design at the university can get easily overlooked compared to the ‘bigger, brash Postmodern schemes of the 70s and 80s’ but is a ‘creative response’ to a site within a conservation area. ‘Even though it’s quite quiet and modest, it’s actually quite exciting and remarkable,’ she said.

A spokesman for the University of Bristol said: ‘We understand there are concerns around the demolition of part of the existing “courtyard” buildings which were added in the late 70s and early 80s. Unfortunately, it’s no longer fit for purpose and our aim is to replace it with a more contemporary building to meet the needs of the school and its students. 

‘We will continue to work closely with Bristol City Council to develop the scheme based on feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including Historic England.’ 

Historic England confirmed it had received the application for listing. 

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