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Mon June 14 2021

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Beard in for RWA revamp

26 May Beard is set to start restoration work on a Victorian art gallery in Bristol.

The Royal West of England Academy
The Royal West of England Academy

The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) has chosen Beard for its £3.8m Light and Inspiration project, with work starting imminently on the Grade II* listed site.

The RWA was Bristol’s first public art gallery when it was built in 1858. The work includes structural repairs to replace the vast roof lanterns in the galleries to create better lighting, and access improvements with the installation of an elevator.

In addition to the work on the main building, there are also significant enhancements planned to facilities for visitors, including the forecourt for outdoor activities, enlarging the café area and improvements to the retail and reception areas.

Beard Bristol director Mike Hedges said: “For Beard, this is a project which provides a fantastic opportunity to help ensure the future of one of Bristol’s landmark buildings.

“As a construction partner we will add value by drawing on our great expertise of both logistically challenging projects and sensitive alteration and conservation of historic buildings.

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“The replacement of the rooflights over the existing galleries for example, will improve the internal environment. While works to improve the entrance, lower windows and provision of a new lift will ensure an accessible, social, family-friendly space with improved natural light.

“This is a project which is very much in line with Beard’s central ethos that buildings are spaces for living, working, playing, and also inspiration.”

The Light and Inspiration project
The Light and Inspiration project

RWA director Alison Bevan said: “Not since the façade was remodelled in 1913 has such a major project been undertaken. We’ve listened to our visitors and to the community we serve and are confident that the changes we’re making will enable people from across Bristol and beyond to benefit from extraordinary encounters with great art, including those with the most severe physical and mental health challenges.

“We are delighted to have appointed Beard Construction, who have themselves been operating for well over a century.  We’re really looking forward to working with this family company, and their extensive experience with important heritage buildings means that we know they’ll do a great job for us.” 

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