Following Gloucester City Council’s approval of the ‘Driving Up Design’ paper in January 2020, the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy, Councillor Andrew Gravells, and RIBA Wessex Regional Chair, Tom Bell, have been working together to deliver on the recommendations within the paper, and ultimately, to improve the quality of architectural design in Gloucester.
As a good news story from before the lockdown, a team comprised of Andrew and Planning Officers from Gloucester City Council travelled down to meet with their Bristol City Council counterparts for a half day knowledge-sharing session and building visits to exemplar projects across Bristol.
The Gloucester team had a tour of the RIBA South West Award-winning Challender Court, with Tom Russell of Emmett Russell Architects. The visit highlighted the opportunities garage and infill developments have to support in meeting local housing need, and celebrated a high quality and sustainable local authority-led development, which has adopted Passivhaus principles.
The group also visited the RIBA South West Building of the Year 2020, Bristol Old Vic, as an exemplar of innovative adaptation of a major heritage destination. David Harraway provided an excellent tour of the building and insight into the site and theatre's history, and highlighted how the theatre continues to grow, embrace and be an integral part of the local community.
Afterwards, they were joined by the RIBA Bristol & Bath Chair Kirsty Pesticcio and met with Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing at Bristol City Council.
"In partnership with Local Authorities, RIBA architects are creating sustainable, well-designed, and award-winning buildings that are having a positive impact on individuals' lives and their communities," Tom Bell explained.
"At this current time and in the coming months, we are needing our local authorities to show leadership and continued commitment to providing high quality, sustainable and well-designed buildings and places, with these exemplar building visits highlighting the value of and importance of good design."
Andrew Gravells added: "I’m really appreciative of the help and commitment I’ve had from the RIBA. Their enthusiasm and bridge building has helped me enormously in my role here at Gloucester. It’s a way of working I want to continue and I hope that Gloucester City Council can build on the work we’ve done so far with our colleagues in the RIBA."