In 1996 the practice was, through an international design competition, selected as architects for the Harbourside Centre for the Performing Arts.
Certain obligations for the design are inherent to the context: the very different boundary conditions, views to important urban landmarks, the actual location between two public squares, Bristol’s remarkably varying topography and the space out over the harbour waters.
From Bristol’s high ground, the form and layout of the harbourside district of the city are clearly understood. The unique, sculptural figure of the proposed building not only describes an easily identifiable image for the Harbourside Centre, but also, through contrast, heightens the qualities of the neighbouring harbourside buildings. The complexity of the exterior form allows the building to present different scales when viewed from across the harbour, from street level or from the hills above the city.
The building volume consists of three principal elements: an international quality concert hall, a regional dance theatre and an administration building. These individual elements are not evident in the buildings external appearance as they are united by a common dynamic, roof form overhead and below by a shared public concourse. However, due to their discreet arrangement, operational, technical and acoustical separation is possible.