Queen Square is the largest Georgian residential square in England. In 1936 Bristol Corporation destroyed its architectural and spatial integrity with the creation of a dual carriageway across the Square. By 1991, 20,000 vehicles each day crossed the Square, creating both noise and pollution. The Square is completely surrounded by listed buildings, but these had been allowed to decline and by 1996 over 33% were vacant.
The scheme involved the removal of the dual carriageway across the square and the bus routes around it. The original 1817 design was reinstated, with gravel paths, timber post and rail fencing around the square; restoration and realignment of King William’s statue (Grade 1 listed); new seating, lighting and tree planting, and the reduction of clutter and re-organisation of car parking around the square.
Bristol City Council Landscape Design Team
|Type of scheme|
Parks and gardens
Winner 2009 LI Awards Heritage and Conservation
To reclaim a major civic space from the dominance of traffic and restore it to its historic grandeur for the enjoyment of the whole community.
Project management: Davis Langdon, Bristol City Council
QS: Davis Langdon
Design: Bristol City Council Urban Design and Conservation, Engineering Consultancy and Landscape Design Teams; Niall Philips Architects
Historical research: Jane Root, Pat Hughes, Chris Heath
Specialist advice: Professor R.J.G Savage (Bristol University)
HLF Monitor: William Wheeler
Bristol City Council
Heritage Lottery Fund; Nat West Bank; Queen Square Association; English Heritage; Bristol City Council
Detailed historic research was essential to the whole project. The design of the central green space had changed significantly from its original 1699 form, so the 1817 design was selected as most appropriate and adaptable to the challenges of modern usage. The historical research also informed the materials used in the scheme, e.g. breedon gravel paths and post and rail perimeter fencing and drove the reinstatement of historic boundary treatments to the surrounding buildings.
The scheme involved major restoration works to the external areas of Queen Square, including widening the perimeter footways and repaving natural stone; resurfacing the roads in traditional granite setts, and reinstating the traditional boundary walls and railings to the listed buildings around the square.
A new concrete base with stone detailing was installed around the historic statue.
A perimeter oak post and rail fence was chosen for the site due to its presence in the historic Square according to images. Oak was also used for the bollards which marks the corner entrance.
Stone setts were used for the perimeter roads as per the tradition with reinstated brick boundary walls and stone detailing to frame the public realm.
Platanus Acerifoila used as a perimeter tree.
The most challenging aspect of the project was reclaiming space from vehicles. The scheme involved the removal of a road and the rerouting of buses, as well as protracted negotiations to relocate the parking from outside individual properties to around the central space, to enable the reinstatement of the boundary walls and forecourts.