Caruso St John Architects

Location: Bristol, UK
Client: Spike Island
Project Status: Built

Since its formation in the late ‘90s, Spike Island has established itself as a significant national centre for the contemporary visual arts, combining studios, work and exhibition spaces. The organisation is located in a former tea packing factory at the Cumberland Basin, on the edge of Bristol’s Harbour side. It offers a total of seventy long-let studios, as well as spaces for arts related businesses whose rent generates revenue for the activities of the trust.

Caruso St John have worked with Spike Island on a wide range of improvements to their building that provided studios and galleries, new facilities to allow the organisation to embrace a wider membership, and have addressed construction and operational problems with the building.

The new scheme has made a consolidated central entrance for the whole building, with a new circulation route east to west connecting all areas of the ground floor. At the centre of the building, the former tea-packing Hall has been changed to provide two new galleries, which give Spike Island the flexibility that they require for their wide ranging exhibition programme. A new café bar is located on the west side of the new entrance. The design of the café was a collaboration with the artists Sue and Hailey Tompkins.