Is there such a thing as a good problem to have? Here at Hybrid, we think so: one inevitable result of us taking on new people all the time is that a few months ago, we realised we’d outgrown our UK HQ’s office space, and had to look for new premises, and fast!
Luckily our Managing Director, Jim Craven keeps his ear to the ground. He’d heard about the closure of a Bavarian-style Bierkeller in the heart of Bristol’s centre, an area steeped in local history — the building he had in mind is just off King Street, home to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and The Old Duke, a pub dating back to 1775.
Jim reached out to Andrew Hardwick from local estate agents Carter Jonas , who rapidly connected us to Charlie Kershaw, Director of Burston Cook, charged with finding a new occupier. Charlie explained some of the challenges he faced in finding a new use for the building:
“We recognised that the future of a bar in this location wasn’t great. But, [the building] would suit an office really well, due to its proximity to King Street and Queen’s Square, one of the most prestigious office locations in the city.
“We knew that we needed to find someone with the ambition and drive to turn a Bavarian Bierhaus into a fantastic office space. And Hybrid has been the company to do that.”
Being a typical 1960’s block, the interior of the building as we found it wasn’t much to write home about. However, the creative team at Hybrid, in a creative collaboration with Simon Gould of architecture company Mitchell Eley Gould came up with an amazing contemporary plinth concept.
There were all sorts of structural issues that had to be tackled too, like could we remove or move the existing lift shafts, could we use floor-to-ceiling glass for the exterior, and so on. But after much deliberation and back and forth, we finally submitted our plans to Bristol City Council for approval.
Belying the reputation of local bureaucracy everywhere, the Council were fantastic, processing and accepting our proposals quickly, recognising that the plans chimed nicely with their on-going urban regeneration projects. Redevelopment of Bristol’s historic centre is seen, rightly, as a crucial factor in keeping the lifeblood of the city flowing, rather than choosing to spread out into the greenfield sites that surround Bristol.
With the official go-ahead and after a tendering process, Hybrid chose Lancer Scott to undertake the extensive renovation, remodel and build work to transform the shell of the old Bierkeller into one of the most exciting architectural and design projects the city has seen in recent years.
Throughout the process, Hybrid has been keen to “keep it local”, and so together, the platform-building for the company’s global growth is performed by the local community. Through adept collaboration, we’re making it happen.
Interviewed while the project was in full swing — watch these pages for the forthcoming on-site videos — Marcus Bryan, Director of Lancer Scott said:
“We want people to say, ‘Who did that building? We want the people [for our project] who did that building.’ It’s a great design and we’re pleased to be part of it.”
“It’s an exciting project to be part of. You want to be downstairs because it looks amazing, but you’re just as intrigued to be upstairs […] It’s refreshing; we haven’t seen this before!”
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