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.