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Architects celebrate opening of 'fabulous' pier visitors' centre

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Written by: Gavin Thompson | Posted 26 May 2016 6:00

Architects celebrate opening of 'fabulous' pier visitors' centre

Award-winning Bristol architects O’LearyGoss is all set to celebrate the completion of Clevedon’s Grade I Listed Pier’s £2.25 million state-of-the-art glass vsitors’ centre on May 30.

Architect Robert O’Leary said: “It has been an exciting and challenging five-year project with the country’s only Grade I listed Pier built on the world’s second-highest tidal range.

“Our focus was to create a beautiful building which provides the 21st Century facilities required without detracting from Pier’s 19th Century elegance and simplicity.”

O’LearyGoss designed a transparent self-supporting glass superstructure that rises out of the Pier’s ramp to become the new tea-room and restaurant.

The original ramp now leads onto the decked roof of the Visitor Centre which doubles as a viewing platform.

The centre’s lowest level is a meeting and interactive display space with stunning porthole window just above high tide level. The porthole allows previously unseen views of the Pier’s elegant Victorian structure. It is crafted from natural Forest of Dean Pennant stone and matches stone used to build the Pier’s ramp and Toll House in the 1860s.

The original Toll House has been completely refurbished as a shop and exhibition space and toilet facilities are also located on this lowest level.

Regional construction company Beard brought O’LearyGoss’ plans to life along with Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust to ensure the protection of the pier.

The pier is the only Grade 1 Listed structure of its kind in England. Financial support for the project came from a number of charitable trusts, including £720,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £825,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund and more than £250,000 from a community share issue. Pier maintenance is around £1 million every decade.

Clevedon Pier board chairman, Simon Talbot-Ponsonby, said: “O’LearyGoss’ fabulous design will secure the long term future of the Pier for everyone and the new facilities will help visitors fully appreciate the beautiful Pier.”

O’LearyGoss is a 12-strong team of Redland-based architects who are also behind the £5.2 million transformation of The Regent in Clevedon’s Victorian conservation area on Hill Road.

The Regent, a derelict 19th Century former bakery, hotel, pub and restaurant is now luxury apartments, gallery and local Sainsbury with high levels of sustainability and renewable energy.

The firm also completed a number of multi-million pound projects in and around Bristol, including Bridge House in Clifton and The Robinson Building in Bedminster.

They are currently involved with projects in the Southville, Redcliffe, Portland Square, and Redland areas of Bristol.

Clevedon Pier cafe

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