House of Fraser

Cabot Circus, Bristol

Commended in the New Build Modern category (Natural Stone Awards, 2010), RIBA Wessex Award (2009), European Copper in Architecture Award, Discretionary Award for Innovation (2009)
Stanton Williams
Bristol Alliance and Land Securities
Main Contractor:
Sir Robert McAlpine
Completion Date:
Portland Stone:
Bowers Roach and Bowers Whitbed
Scope of Project:
Stone-on-precast cladding

Architects Stanton Williams created a landmark building for the Bristol Alliance's £500m Cabot Circus development.

Bristol's House of Fraser department store seeks to integrate with the city and to provide a striking beacon from the M4 gateway. Artist Susanna Heron, in collaboration with Stanton Williams Architects, helped to design the façade.

Portland Bowers Roach was specified for the main elevation and once she was sure the grid of the building was set, she began work on the design, which took a year to complete.

Albion Stone supplied stone faced panels of Portland Bowers Roach and Portland Bowers Whitbed. In total, Techrete produced the Architectural Cladding in 730 panels. The geological theme is developed in the use of Portland Roach as the principal facing material.

Hard and durable, Roach is noteworthy for its high fossil content: where the shells have long since decomposed within the stone there are now holes-negatives, or moulds, which gives it with a lively, textured appearance. At the principal corner of the building, smoother Whitbed stone from the same quarry is used, contrasting with the Roach.

Cabot Circus was officially opened on Thursday 24th September 2008.  The official opening marked the completion of a project which has been 10 years in the planning and building.  Drummers, dancers and high-wire performers entertained the crowds, until a circus master announced the opening of the stores at noon.

In 2009, this project gained a RIBA award, and this project also got 'Commended' at the Natural Stone Awards 2010 in the 'New Build Modern Style Stone Cladding' category.