University of Bristol Dental School relocation to provide future-fit facilities

The University of Bristol has revealed new plans to relocate its Dental School to the city centre to provide new future-fit teaching and research facilities.

Global design practice BDP has supported the University of Bristol with a feasibility study to identify a suitable new site for the Dental School as well as designing the chosen scheme. BDP is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

The Dental School, which is currently based at the University of Bristol Dental Hospital will move to 1 Trinity Quay, which is currently an office building. Located in Bristol’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and within easy reach of the University’s proposed new Enterprise Campus, the university recently received planning consent for the change of use of the building from offices to institutional use.

Akshay Khera, architecture director at BDP in Bristol, said: “The most sustainable building is one that already exists, so we would always advocate considering the reuse and repurposing of buildings first, rather than building new by default. It will also be a really beneficial addition to this area of town, introducing a vibrant university function along the river and close to Temple Meads.

“Of course, repurposing an office building poses some challenges, but it also throws up exciting opportunities to create a completely unique design that is both fresh and modern, as well as drawing on existing quirky features of interest. This is the approach we’ve taken at the University of Bristol Dental School, which will provide an exciting new facility for students and researchers.

“For example, the 1990s-designed lift walls are being used to provide a ‘biophilic wall’ of living plants to add visual stimulus into the atrium, change the character of the space and contribute to a sense of wellbeing.”

Professor Jane Norman, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, said: “We have been exploring options for a new home for the Dental School for some time.

“The central location and easy access via public transport were important factors in our decision, ensuring we’re well-placed to offer free dental care and oral health to local communities. We anticipate these services will be welcome to help alleviate backlogs at dental practices caused by the pandemic.

“The new model allows primary care services and training to take place in the most appropriate setting, allowing students to train at the most appropriate level with the majority going to work in primary care settings such as high street dental surgeries after they graduate.

“Research will remain on site at the Dental Hospital, and strong partnership working between the University and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust will also continue as we work together to develop a joint vision and future service model for dental education.”

Sustainability is at the heart of the Dental School project with the University focused on a green travel plan for the building, which encourages cycling and use of public transport over driving, with accessible parking spaces only.

Architects and designers from BDP have worked as part of a multi-disciplinary team including service engineers, structural and civil engineers appointed by the University of Bristol.