Former RIBA president and ex-mayor of Bristol says the city’s proposed £90 million arena designed by Populous and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios will be the ‘best in the UK’
Ferguson’s political career ended last week after he was beaten by Labour’s Marvin Rees in Bristol’s mayoral election by almost 30,000 votes. The ex-RIBA president hailed the arena project, which he helped spearhead, as a ‘good legacy’ of his fur year term.
However he has no intention of returning to architecture: ’I won’t be registering as a practising architect, but I am sure I will be getting involved with regeneration in the broader sense.’
Ferguson claims to have ’increased Bristol’s national and international standing… but unfortunately elections are not decided by the people outside the city, they are decided by the people inside the city’.
He describes how he has a list of achievements ’as long as your arm’ from the time he spent as the city’s first mayor.
The former architect describes the Bristol Arena project as being ’the biggest single building project that I’ve commissioned’ and a ’thoroughly well worked out design that I’m confident will be built to a sensible budget’.
He added: ’I think it will be the best arena in the UK and I feel that that will be a good legacy. It’s a £100m project in round terms and it will be opened during 2018 unless something unforeseeable happens.’
A RIBA competition held last year to choose who will build the arena was won by Populous, working with architectural firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and BuroHappold.
Bristol Arena PlazaDay PopulousArenaTeam Feb2016 sml
’We did have some submissions that would have been popular with the public in terms of the imagery, but would have cost a fortune in terms of the delivery,’ said Ferguson.
Despite losing his office Ferguson will be speaking at the G7 summit in Tokyo next week on what it takes create an environmentally friendly city as part of an European cities delegation.
As for the reason he failed to get re-elected as Bristol mayor, he commented: ’The main thing that defeated me is that the Labour party targeted Bristol as the only core city without Labour leadership.’ Ferguson stood as an independent candidate.
He also said he will not miss some aspects of his old job: ’I’m hugely relieved not to have to take part in another council or committee meeting. I’m hugely relieved to be free of some of the political and other abuse and bile that comes with being high profile.’