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The University of the West of England School of Architecture

to develop Birnbeck proposals

On Thursday December 1st 2016 a group of 14 Masters of Architecture students from UWE Bristol's School of Architecture visited Birnbeck Island accompanied by Architect and Graduate Tutor Matthew Hynam and three Team Birnbeck guides.

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The purpose of the field visit was to see the island for themselves (at least - as well as they could given the weather on the day - it was extremely foggy - it couldn't be seen from the mainland!) in preparation for working up ideas for the regeneration of Birnbeck Island.

The following is from a draft of a press statement prepared prior to the visit - we hope we have given them food for thought to widen the brief!

"Masters of Architecture students from the University of the West of England have been tasked with developing ideas for how Birnbeck Pier and Island might be developed for the 21st century. The project which is in collaboration with the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust starts with a theoretical project where students will explore how the pier and island might be linked to the wider context of Birnbeck and Weston through a brief to develop a new attraction on the island such as a prospective Institute of Contemporary Film for example. The output of this work will form part of an exhibition in Weston which will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the pier's opening.

Following this initial project further students will take the conceptual ideas of the first project and then work them up with the local community and stakeholders. Proposals from this second live project will look to carefully balance the restoration of the historic fabric with creating spaces that are beneficial to the local community and economically viable. This phase of the project will see students working in Birnbeck and Weston during the autumn of 2017 to establish and develop the brief."

During the period of study the students will have a number of project reviews at UWE’s Frenchay Campus. Review dates so far anticipated are:

January 30th 2017- Interim review early concepts;

February 27th 2017 - Interim review buildings concepts;

April 3rd 2017 - Final review.

The end of the initial project for students would culminate with an exhibition of the work in Weston and possibly in Bristol as well. This would be arranged to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the 1867 opening of the pier on June 5th 2017.

October 2017 would see the start of the live projects process which will run until April 2018. New students will take the proposals of the initial group and work with the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, other stakeholders and the local community to produce proposals that would work for all.

Matthew Hynam writes:

"The prospect of Master of Architecture students working with the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust on developing proposals for the pier and island is an amazing opportunity for all. We hope that this collaboration can help push forward the regeneration of the pier and island in a way that puts the needs and aspirations of the local community at its heart."

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(Images © and by courtesy of Martin Slade)

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