Building Brands

The Problem

Bristol like many cities throughout the UK has a desperate need for housing whilst at the same time properties lie empty.

According to the Guardian, the government’s own figures show that 200,000 properties in the UK have been empty for six months or more and LibDem research has revealed that 11,000 homes have been lying empty for more than 10 years.

The Challenge

To discover how good design can benefit an area, we asked students to find a space within the city that was currently unoccupied and provide it with an identity. The goal was to engage with the space, provide something that could enrich a community and inspire a more resourceful attitude. This project highlighted a growing problem of empty properties while giving the students an opportunity to show how repurposing empty properties can benefit our communities.

We asked the students to:

  • Find an empty building in Bristol that isn’t being utilised. i.e. Shops in the Bearpit, Electric House, Temple Meads Sorting Office etc.
  • Think about how the space could be used to be more beneficial to the community. Consider size, location, populous, etc. It can be commercial. i.e. cinema, restaurant, gym, museum. But also consider something that’ll be socially beneficial i.e. community centre, hostel, halfway house.
  • Once the buildings purpose is established, give it an identity. Take into account the neighbouring businesses, what the area needs, it’s current aesthetic / populous and potential visitors. Appease the locals with a pub? Push for progression with a gallery? The goal is to engage with a space, provide something that could enrich a community and inspire a more resourceful attitude.

Briefings & Feedback

During the project we briefed the students, gave feedback, but most importantly, listened to how the students would choose to rebuild these spaces.

Following the initial session, the students formed teams to address the brief before presenting their initial ideas back to Fiora to receive and be given direction.

We were pleased to find they shared their identity campaigns with the public by conducting Instagram polls, surveys and gathering anecdotal evidence to guide their thought processes and deliver solutions that worked.

Overall, there were some promising ideas and excellent presentations. It was clear that each team had engaged with the brief and had formulated a well developed concept with a strong rationale behind it. You can follow the links below to see the final pitches.

In Summary

The most successful response was something socially necessary to any given area e.g. a complex food bank made simple with excellent user experience for Stokes Croft and a hostel for Temple Meads made more accessible through its dynamic identity.

We never explicitly asked for a socially aware outcome however, that’s what they largely gravitated towards.

To know this generation is occupied with our social and economic issues doesn’t come without its concerns, but to think they’re attempting to tackle them is inspiring.