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Castle Park Design competition shortlist announced

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On Thursday 9th December 2021, Goram Homes and Bristol Housing Festival announced a shortlist of five creative designs to be taken forward to the next round of their Castle Park Design competition.

Entrants were asked to come up with big and bold ideas for a low carbon development to sit on top of the Castle Park Energy Centre – England’s largest water source heat pump.

The shortlisted entries were chosen by our panel of judges from over 37 high calibre proposals from across the country. All entries were anonymised for the first round of judging.

Cllr Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes said:

“It is fantastic to see these designs for new homes at Castle Park. Not only will the development include our water source heat pump, but this competition has shown just how much opportunity we have with brownfield sites like the one at Castle Park to build creative, sustainable developments that provide much needed affordable homes for Bristol.”

Stephen Baker, Managing Director, Goram Homes said:

“One of the reasons we chose a design competition for this site was that it opens up the opportunity to a much wider pool of talent and creativity. Our shortlist includes global companies and studios in the Southwest – all with innovative designs that have the potential to create a truly sustainable development above the energy centre at Castle Park.”

Jessie Wilde, Deputy Project Director, Bristol Housing Festival, said:

“We were delighted to have so much interest in this competition and inspired by so many creative ideas. I look forward to seeing them developed.”

This shortlisted group will now be commissioned to develop their ideas further and this will include an element of community engagement and feedback from City Design Group at the council. The aim is to select a finalist from the shortlist in early Spring 2022.

Watch the short list being announced here

Shortlisted entries

1. Barton Willmore

Barton Willmore is an inter-disciplinary national design and planning practice with an extensive track record of delivering high-quality, community based, mixed-use residential schemes across a range of scales. We have lived and worked in the heart of Bristol for over 30 years, we know and love this city and believe we are well placed to contribute towards these exciting future plans at Castle Park.

“For us, this project creates an opportunity to challenge and redefine the principles behind building communities, and place social value at the forefront of the conversation. Our concept centres around the idea of a terrarium, a multi-functional microecosystem that creates and nurtures an ideal environment for life. We see this terraria as a layered response to the site, embedded within it socio-economic values, community engagement, low carbon and net-zero strategies and enhanced biodiversity to create an exemplar proposal for urban living and amenity for visitors. We live and breathe Bristol and believe our proposal will create a catalyst for transformation, addressing the climate, housing and skills crisis and placing Bristol front and centre as a beacon for positive change.”

2. BDP architects

BDP is a major international practice of award winning architects, designers, engineers and urbanists who create outstanding places for people.

“We are delighted to have been selected to develop our ideas further with Goram Homes for this fantastic opportunity for the Bristol community. Our ideas present a rethinking of the design and delivery of housing for the future. BDP’s vision for the future of urban living is a categorised within ‘BDP’s Toolkit’ of principles that reshape the way we design and build our cities to provide an exemplar of sustainability and biodiversity, while also helping the city to meet its housing needs.” Matthew Mayes, Architect Director from BDP’s Bristol Studio.

3. Clifton Emery Design

Clifton Emery – A different design practice. We collaborate within our company across design disciplines – architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and graphic design. We have spent many years honing this skill so that the work we undertake is multi-faceted, intelligent and responsive to its situation. This makes us well prepared for the physical, political, social and economic challenges inherent in all of the projects we work on. In all aspects of what we do; creativity, community, communication, diversity, the future of our planet, social responsibility, and a caring approach underpin the way we work and what we design.

“Fantastic! – we’re really happy that our initial ideas were well received by the judges and that we’ve been shortlisted for such an important project in our own city. We’re looking forward to the next stage of the project and the public consultation.”

4. Farrells London and Arup

Farrells – a start up with 50 years of experience – our small, agile practice is a collective of architects; story tellers, thinkers, strategists, urbanists and technicians – connected by the pulse of cities. We have a track record of pioneering urban design, residential developments and award-winning architecture, achieving planning consent on sensitive sites while delivering vibrant residential communities and places.

Arup’s landscape architects have significant skills and experience working on projects across a range of contexts both in UK and abroad. Our landscape team is wholly committed to delivering a project that fulfils not only the needs of the client, but also the needs of future residents and the wider community park users – maximising social and economic sustainability’.

‘Park Life is a proposal for the heart of Castle Park bringing homes, nature and communities together to celebrate the history and promote the future of Bristol and showcase the synergy between technology nature and sustainable living’

5. Groupwork and McGregor Coxall

Groupwork are an internationally respected, multiple award winning practice based in London.
Since its foundation in 2003, the practice has been pursuing architecture rooted in place, history and authenticity. The practice’s ethos revolves around producing historically responsive, materially honest and beautifully detailed buildings within Conservation Areas, AONB and of Grade I, II and II* Listed status.

McGregor Coxall are a multi-disciplinary design firm located in Bristol, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Shenzhen. They combine their international expertise and experience, with local knowledge and sensitivities to deliver design solutions for complex urban and environmental challenges. They blur the boundaries between design and engineering, allowing them to integrate technical and design excellence while weaving culture, ecology and artistic elements into their design.

“The site presents both historical and contemporary context – industry to leisure, defence to parkland, trade to waterside. We propose to strengthen the connection between these pairings in a strong architectural order built from structural stone and timber, broken down in scale and made permeable by landscaped gardens from roof to waterside referencing the site’s past and enabling its future. Two blocks are split to introduce a colonnaded ‘street’ connecting harbourside and gardens and a gradual stepping away of massing from the waterside to reinforce a scale of private to public frontage. A structural limestone exoskeleton defines the site’s boundary, toothed into the existing water’s edge to reference Bristol Castle’s historic defensive limestone walls, a modern design born from antiquity. The materials are traditional yet speak of contemporary innovation, alluding to the pioneering heritage of Bristol and the site’s original material history. We propose this is the next step in Bristol’s legacy of innovation.”

For further information on the competition please contact Jessie Carter on

For media enquiries please contact Kate Buxton on +44 7592 382990 or

Published On: 9 December 2021

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© Copyright 2023 | Goram Homes Limited – A Bristol City Council owned company.
All Rights Reserved | Registered in England and Wales No.11597204.