Thinking Big in Bridgwater This Weekend

thinking big
UWE students ‘thinking big ‘ in Bridgwater Town Hall with Councillors and planners

Last year Bridgwater Town Council helped to fund the CIAM 6 conference at the Bridgwater Arts Centre, a project that commemorated the 1947 gathering when the worlds leading architects and town planners got together in our town to consider the brave new world of post war urban design. As a result of that conference, present day architecture students from the University of the West of England have been in Bridgwater imagining what we could do here with our booming little town….and their results will be on display and up for public discussion in the Angel Place this Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April.

But remember…they’re not necessarily going to happen and it’s all about ‘thinking outside the box’.

Open Studio Weekend

Stuart Martin
Sedgemoor Planner Stuart Martin discusses the project with UWE students

What the students have called an ‘Open Studio Weekend’ will be set up in an empty shop unit in Bridgwater’s premier (and only) shopping centre (Angel Place) from 10am to 4pm. The team of UWE students [undergraduate and post graduate] will be working on their projects and inviting conversations and participation: Postgraduates will be ‘Thinking Big in Bridgwater’ showing and working on their projects, exploring  many new ideas from transport to education, from making & engineering to nature study, music & festivals and all with the emphasis on ‘Youth’.

Course organiser Sally Daniels said “The Undergraduates will be looking at ‘Healthy Homes for Later Living’ & ‘Intergenerational Hubs’ so Come along and join in – whether you have ideas about Bridgwater that you would like to share and explore, or if you would even just like to talk to some students about what it is like to study architecture; we will be very happy to welcome you.”

Town Council Leader Brian Smedley at the CIAM 6 project

Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley says “This is a great project and we’re very pleased the students were so inspired by the CIAM6 event that they chose to come to our town to throw around some creative and imaginative ideas. I would urge everyone to drop in to Angel Place on the Saturday or Sunday and comment on their ideas , make your own suggestions and start to take an interest in what more we can do with our town. And the important thing is these projects are not (necessarily) actually going to happen… if you’re planning to froth at the ears….just pretend to!”

To read more about the CIAM6 event click here.


Healthy Homes for Later Living:

Sally Daniel
Sally Daniels discusses Bridgwater’s Waterway vision with IWA’s Mike Slade

In this project we will be exploring the needs and desires of ‘third agers’ and what aspirational housing for this growing section of society might be. Students will be considering the needs of people aged from 60 to 75 who live active and energetic lives in their community. We are looking for designs that have empathy for the needs, desires and aspirations of ’active third agers’. You must challenge traditional ideas of live/work/play and should consider these as beyond standard homes. We are looking for experimental and creative responses to the type of communities and lifestyles ‘active third agers’ may want as they age that enables them to move through third age affordably and with dignity.

Intergenerational Hub:

Cllr Diogo Rodrigues who has encouraged a ‘youth focus’ for the Council and for this project

Students are designing an intergenerational community hub to serve the town. In this project we will be exploring how we can build relationships between different generations of users within the town and how our architecture can enable this. Initial site analysis will inform the brief, which will include provision for day care facilities for the young, a centre for the active 3rd agers, and a new public space for use by those on site and the local community. It should be an open building that welcomes every citizen of the town who can use it how they want. It should contain some spaces that can be used for many functions at different times of the day: Lectures, exhibitions or education. It should be a place of discovery, gatherings and exchanges for its users.