Refurbishment and extension of Grade II listed former Victorian Baths to provide improved facilities for Bristol Community Dance Centre.


The Grade II listed former Victorian Baths on Jacobs Wells Road, Bristol has been home to Bristol Community Dance Centre for approximately 30 years, however much of the building is in a poor state of repair, and large areas are completely unused. The brief for Phase 1 of the project was to rationalise the circulation to give users better access to all areas, and to create exciting new spaces within the spectacular pump room and high level tank ‘room’. The creation of a new entrance and frontage would also help promote the dance centre and its spaces, allowing passers by a glimpse into the workings of the building.


Working with PH3 Design and William Murphy, proposals were drawn up to bring these under utilised areas into use, increasing the capacity of the Centre to offer more classes and a wider variety of functions, while addressing the practicalities of reconciling the myriad floor levels. Two approaches were investigated the design process – the first was to express the movement and grace of the art of dance through an elegant new structure, while the second took a more minimal approach to new interventions. Common to both solutions is the idea of celebrating this new structure, as the Victorians achieved in the original building, but in a way befitting a 21st century facility.


The plans were very well received by the Dance Centre and wider local community alike, including much support during the planning process. The building is an important landmark – not just because of its architectural status – but also as an important community facility. The designs respected the historic nature of the architecture and re-ignited lost spaces, addressing the needs of the Centre.