The Victorian power station that once supplied Bristol‘s tram system has been transformed into a shared office space, designed by British interiors studio MoreySmith to celebrate its industrial past.
The waterside Generator Building originally opened in 1890 to power Bristol Tramways – the electric tram system that serviced the city until it was destroyed in the second world war.
MoreySmith was commissioned to transform the building into a flexible co-working space set over six floors, which has been shortlisted in the large workspace interior category of Dezeen Awards 2022.
The new workspace includes dedicated offices, private desks and event spaces, as well as a lounge and cafe that are open to the public to ensure that the building contributes to the wider regeneration of the local neighbourhood.
MoreySmith worked closely with Historic England to restore the once-derelict Grade II listed building, taking care to preserve original features such as the steelwork and tiled brick facade.
The studio also retained various graphics such as the stencilling on the building’s glazed tiles and brick walls, which was used to label the four steam engines and generators housed in the power station.
Other aspects of the interior scheme were designed to pay homage to the building’s industrial past. This includes the aged copper cladding used on the storage lockers and quiet booths, which references the rusted metal objects found in the building during the renovation.
A central spiral staircase is complemented with mosaic tiles, mimicking the building’s original flooring, while a bespoke lighting system that recalls industrial power generators illuminates the bar area.
MoreySmith took care to ensure that natural light filters throughout the building’s various spaces, and that workspaces have views out across the city and waterways below.
A double-height breakout space provides additional room for casual meetings. Flooded with natural light from a skylight above, this lofty space highlights the building’s generous proportions.
Contemporary furnishings and an abundance of green planting were added to contrast with the raw finishes and industrial features.
The design studio also inserted pod structures on the fifth floor to create mezzanine offices in between the building’s trusses.
“The Generator Building is a glorious example of what is possible when buildings are sensitively restored in a way that both celebrates their history while bringing new life to an existing structure,” said MoreySmith.
Other projects shortlisted alongside the Generator Building in the large workspace interiors category of Dezeen Awards 2022 include Dyson’s global HQ inside St James Power Station in Singapore.
Also in the running is the Midtown Workplace in Brisbane, which features a plant-filled atrium wrapped by a weathered-steel staircase.
The photography is by Fiona Smallshaw.
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