#throwbackthursday: West Street, Bedminster

This project proves what is possible when partners work together to deliver services where they’re most needed. This initiative provides both quality affordable housing and an opportunity to find work for men and women who have served this country and now need support to re-establish themselves in the community
— Jay Lambe, Area Manager of the HCA (Bouygues UK Article)
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On the anniversary of the opening of our project at West Street, Bedminster, we thought we’d take a look back at this project. Colin Powell, gcp Director and Architect on this project says:

The site at West Road Bedminster was a challenging project – a tight infill development of a site that had previously been used for various purposes including car repairs and the sale of garden buildings.

The site is closely overlooked by terraced housing on three sides and has some very large retaining structures on the side and rear boundaries. These are the sort of issues that make urban infills difficult and expensive.

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For the client it was important to achieve a minimum level of development to make the site financially viable and the first design challenge for gcp was to find a form of development that could deliver the right number of homes whilst recognising these constraints.

gcp’s solution was to step the buildings across the site, using the site levels to reduce the height of buildings in the rear of the site whilst maintaining the higher storey height of the buildings on West Street. This creative approach to levels, reducing the impact of overlooking in the back of the site and the risk of adverse effects on the retained boundaries, delivered the number of homes needed whilst creating a neighbourly development.

Coming up with good solutions for sites like this is one of the more satisfying aspects of what we do.  Knowing that the project was creating homes and training opportunities for homeless ex-servicemen made this an extra-special project and it was a privilege to have played a part on the successful delivery of these homes.

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True partnership working has been paramount in bringing West Street through from an idea to a reality. We’re really pleased to have been part of such a pioneering project. Now that the project is complete, our Supported Housing team is looking forward to offering ongoing support to the new residents of West Street.
— Nick Horne, Chief Executive of Knightstone (Bouygues UK Article)

Meet the Team: Matt Bonney

matt bonney

Architect Matt Bonney is celebrating his first-year anniversary with gcp. He joined us last year from 360 Architecture in Glasgow. Matt graduated Strathclyde University in 2016, where his studies focused on developing sustainable buildings with inter-seasonal energy storage.

We wanted to get to know Matt a little better, so asked him a few questions!


So Matt, what inspired you to pursue architecture?

Meccano, K-nex and Lego along with a desire to create and an infinite imagination.

and if you weren’t an architect, what would you be?

Set designer or carpenter.

Can you tell us what’s your best moment at gcp in the last year?

The build up to Christmas!

Matt joins a long list of gcp employees who have a competitive streak - in the run up to Christmas last year we ran several games and challenges amongst the team to win chocolate, wine and - more importantly - glory!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Cycling or anything sporty really (not sure if appropriate but I also create beer pong tables as a side project).

Certainly interesting though! So, what’s your proudest personal achievement?

A-level art – creating a full-sized grand piano out of match sticks and coloured PVA (photos available)

And attached to this blog! Thanks for your time Matt, just to wrap up could you tell us your favourite project that you’ve worked on to date.

Leyton Urban Cricket Hub.


Matt has worked on some interesting projects since starting with gcp, including Bristol County Ground, Bristol Tower blocks and the Urban Cricket Hub in Leyton. Outside of his architectural work in the office, he is on both our media and events groups; personally, he has just returned from a cycling expedition through the Alps.


Keep an eye on our blog for more staff interviews over the coming weeks.


Mark Affordable Housing wins Somerset LABC Award

Recently completed affordable rural housing designed by gcp Chartered Architects has won the ‘Best Affordable Housing’ category in the Somerset Local Authority Building Control Awards. The project, designed for South Western Housing Society and built by EG Carter Construction, provides 12 new homes for local families. gcp designed the homes to be comfortable and cheap to run, incorporating high levels of insulation with heating and hot water provided by ground-sourced heat pumps. Residents will enjoy low energy costs from a simple technology that is easy to operate and maintain.

Winner – Best Affordable Housing

Winner – Best Affordable Housing

Spencer and Norton get new lease of life

gcp are working for specialist contractor Rateavon on this is an external restoration project for two early 1960’s Bristol City Council tower blocks in sight of St Mary Redcliffe. This scheme includes window replacement, new roofing and complete redecoration.

Working within the constraints of two adjacent conservation areas, colour options to change the identity of the blocks away from established colour palette normally associated with affordable housing in the city have been carefully considered and discussed with the council’s conservation and planning officers before offering then to residents for comment.

Spencer and Norton are the 6th set of tower blocks we have worked on in the city since 2015 and over that time we have developed a detailed understanding of the issues associated with refurbishing these iconic buildings.

A planning application will be made before end of 2018 and works started October 2018 and are scheduled for completion by November 2019.

Spencer House from Bedminster Bridge roundabout

Spencer House from Bedminster Bridge roundabout

Handover at Mark, Somerset

Our latest rural housing scheme was handed over this week at Mark, Somerset.

The 10 new homes for South Western Housing Society are located on the edge of the village and form a lovely courtyard development providing a range of homes that include bungalows, houses and apartments, to cater for a range of housing needs.

The development is already fully let to people from the local area - excited to be moving in to these light and spacious homes. The development has been constructed by EG Carter Construction with a really excellent standard of finish. The homes have heating and hot water provided by Ground-Source Heat Pumps; which will keep energy costs to a minimum.

This development provides an excellent benchmark for affordable rural housing.