The Generator Building first opened in 1890 but had subsequently fallen into disrepair. MoreySmith’s brief from client Castleforge was to develop flexible workspace in the building for serviced office provider Clockwise. It worked with the Bush Consultancy to ensure the building’s history was retained with elements of its original structure visible throughout its six storeys.
Features include original glazed tiles, plaster and brickwork, while stencilled graphics indicate the position of machinery that once helped power the generator, and new interior elements have been designed to leave the building’s core structure uncompromised.
A club and café space on the ground floor is open to the public as part of the redevelopment of Bristol’s floating harbour, while further up, a double-height breakout space provides room for casual meetings and social space.
The building’s original cathedral-like windows have also been renovated, while a wrap-around gantry has been extended to encourage movement around the office spaces on the fourth floor with the added insertion of a new industrial spiral stair linking between this and the third floor.
To accommodate ample working space, pod structures have been erected on the fifth floor to create mezzanine offices in between existing roof trusses, with large porthole windows offering views across the city and waterways below.
The incorporation of aged copper cladding in the new spaces is intended to reference the machinery once found there. New features have been created from corrugated metal sheeting and bespoke concrete cladding. A raw steel spiral staircase invokes the building’s industrial past while mosaic floors mimic its original flooring patterns.
It was a privilege to work with such a beautiful heritage building; to breathe new life into this unique industrial asset. MoreySmith’s close collaboration with Clockwise has been transformational to the space. The successful launch has seen a real sense of renewed energy and life brought to the area.
Linda Morey-Burrows, founder and principal designer, MoreySmith
Clockwise presented an exciting brief for us to transform the interior of the Generator Building into a contemporary co-working space. It was crucial that the design response was sensitive to the history of the building and to ensure that the final product met the needs of Clockwise, while doing everything we could to retain the incredible heritage features.
To pay homage to the building’s history, we worked closely with Foundry, a London-based lighting studio, to create a custom light installation suspended above the bar, inspired by the flow and buzz of electricity through the original generator. It is the more nuanced details such as this that juxtaposes the original heritage features that are still apparent throughout the building, to create an exciting design-led space that people will want to spend time in.
We are proud to have helped bring this once derelict building back to life and it is exciting to see it in use in this new chapter of its story.
Michael Kieck, senior associate interior designer, MoreySmith
Launching Clockwise in the Generator Building in Bristol is a really special moment for us and it represents the type of design-led spaces we offer for our members.
The building has a vibrant history, and it was crucial that the design sensitively restored the space to its former glory. Having worked with MoreySmith on multiple locations across the UK already, we knew that this latest project collaboration would create a space to inspire our community of members, while aiding their productivity and wellbeing.
Maintaining the original structure enabled us to be playful with the new space and to create unexpected pockets of working and breakout zones for different sizes of companies; from the established to start-ups. It is a privilege to have brought new life to such a well-loved building, creating a new home for Bristol’s thriving business community that will ensure longevity of use in the space for years to come.
Alexandra Brunner, chief operating officer, Clockwise
Start on site July 2019
Completion date January 2022
Gross internal floor area 3,300m2
Form of contract or procurement route Traditional
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architects The Bush Consultancy and MoreySmith
Client Castleforge, Clockwise
Structural engineer HTS
M&E consultant Lehding Services
Quantity surveyor Linesight
Landscape consultant Lease a Leaf
Acoustic consultant Venta Acoustics
Project manager RISE
Principal designer RISE
Main contractor Overbury
CAD software used AutoCAD & Revit
Environmental performance data
Heating and hot water load 91.62 kwh/m2/yr
Design life Approx 25 Years
Annual CO2 emissions 30.4 KgCO2eq/m2