St. Nicholas, Bristol

The  Church  of  St.  Nicholas  is  one  of  Bristol’s  most prominent churches within the ‘Old City’ area. Rebuilt over the medieval crypt in the 1760s, the Georgian  church  is  situated  against  the  line  of  the  city  walls  and  beside  a former city gate. The interior was severely damaged during a bombing raid in 1940. Subsequently,  the  roof  and  nave  were  reconstructed  in  the  1970s by the local authority and the building was used for a short time as a museum before being used as offices and for storage.

The project to repair and refurbish the Grade II* listed Church for youth-oriented worship has included 100% renewal of all building services, access improvements, strengthening of the modern roof structure; renewal of the ceiling and substantial upgrading of fire egress from the modern gallery level while removing detracting modern elements from the historic church volume. MFA were lead consultants and worked closely with the Bristol; DAC and Historic England from the outset to ensure that the tight programme for the work was maintained. 

Funded by the Church of England Strategic Development Fund, the project was on a very tight and finite budget and fast track programme that demanded highly creative, cost effective solutions. A lightweight, non-combustible acoustic ceiling was created out of fire rated birch plywood to minimise cost and installation time whilst reflecting the historic ceiling form.  Creative, cost-effective solutions for the services were also developed with SGA to utilise very low-cost radiators and light fittings that were designed to work creatively with the ceiling and window grids.  The design of the new ceiling and fittings was enabled by a close working relationship  with the contractor’s joinery shop. Following a detailed condition survey by MFA, essential repair works to the building fabric have also been undertaken.

At St. Nicholas in Bristol, MFA were responsible for compiling and co-ordinating the full design team. As testament to the outcome, the same design team has just been appointed for a second larger project for the Diocese of Bristol with MFA as Lead Consultants.