Hopkins Architects, Bristol, 2000


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The new fluid link between the historical docklands and the leisure centre 

Dennis Gilbert/VIEW and Richard Davies     Download Original

  • The new fluid link between the historical docklands and the leisure centre    
  • The tent-like botanical house: the use of etfe,  rather than glass,  sacrificed some transparency but helped to minimise the structure    
  • The secret botanical garden    
  • The waterfront view    
  • The canopy covers a  ‘street’  which leads to an undercroft beneath a concrete shell supporting the botanical garden    
  • The imax foyer is a neat two-storey space which curves around the auditorium    
  • The ‘black box’ exhibition space    
  • The imax auditorium    
  • The fluid-like staircase, a reflection of the architecture    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Forth floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Isometric    
  • Guttering and roof detail    
  • Guttering detail    

Imax cinema, botanical garden, interactive exhibits, education rooms and a restaurant, each housed in a layer defined by its own architectural language

A massive brick drum at the northern apex of the triangular site holds the Imax cinema. From here the building widens out, filling the site, to meet the two storey Grade II listed leadworks factory at the south of the site.

This 19th century building has been converted to contain a ground floor restaurant, shop with offices above.

Between the cinema and the leadworks the accommodation is organised in layers each defined with their own architectural language.

First a glazed atrium separates the cinema from the rest of the building, leaving the drum as a separate entity. The next layer contains a five storey circulation zone, connected to a four storey ‘black box’, which houses interactive multimedia and exhibits, with education rooms above.

Next, the tent roof of the tropical house is suspended from a pair of raking steel masts. Finally a smaller fabric roofed structure fills the space between the tropical house and the leadworks, forming the foyer.


  • Begun: Apr 1999
  • Completed: Nov 2000
  • Floor area: 7,502m2
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £13.9M
  • Funding: Millennium Commission
  • Tender date: Feb 1998
  • Procurement: Construction Management
  • Address: @Bristol, Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5DB, United Kingdom

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