University of Bristol Dental School completes, designed by BDP

The University of Bristol’s new purpose-designed Dental School has been officially opened by Bristol West MP and Shadow Culture Minister, Thangam Debbonaire.

Global multidisciplinary design practice BDP supported the University of Bristol with a feasibility study to identify a suitable new site for the Dental School and designed the chosen scheme, with contractor, Kier Construction, delivering it.

The £36 million Dental School, which was previously based at Bristol Dental Hospital, has now moved to 1 Trinity Quay, a former office building in the heart of Bristol, enabling the University to increase student places by around 25 percent.

Sustainability is at the heart of the Dental School project. The University prioritised the re-use and retrofit of this existing building over new build, reducing the upfront carbon impact of construction. Traditional, open plan office space with rows of workstations have been transformed into a state-of-the-art teaching and training facility for use by the students, staff and community, who will have access to the free treatment services.

The design features a unique octagonal shaped space, home to a series of dental treatment bays and teaching spaces, with amazing views out onto the surrounding waterfront. Parts of the school are open beyond normal working hours to provide the opportunity for extended time for learning and collaboration. Meanwhile, specially designed rooms for neurodivergent students offer a secluded, soundproofed space for quiet study.

The University is also encouraging green and active travel options to and from the building, including cycling, walking and use of public transport, with accessible parking spaces. Around 50 basement car parking spaces have been replaced with 200 secure cycle spaces for students and staff in the basement, with shower and changing facilities provided at first floor level to promote more sustainable transport options.

Many of the carpet, ceiling tiles and raised access floors have been reused as part of the design approach.

Akshay Khera, architecture director at BDP, said:

“This significant project for the University of Bristol is now ready to welcome students, providing a state-of-the-art teaching space within an existing building. Not only is the sensitive reuse of an existing space beneficial from a sustainability perspective, but it also provides a unique design opportunity as we were able to draw on quirky features of interest whilst injecting a modern and fresh take. The redevelopment also introduces a new lease of life and vibrant university function to this prominent building, bringing activity to this important of part of the city centre throughout the day and evening.”

Architects and interior designers from BDP worked as part of a multidisciplinary team including building services engineers and structural and civil engineers appointed by the University of Bristol.