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As part of the University of Bristol’s strategic consolidation programme, and in order to promote agile working and collaboration, we've refurbished over 70,000 sq ft of space for University staff.

Cathedral Square

Project overview

For a university at the forefront of cutting-edge research, they needed offices that allowed them to work together and perform at their best. The Cathedral Square project involved Cat A modifications and Cat B fit out works to 28,000 sq ft across two floors at One Cathedral Square. Works were carried in two phases, while the building remained occupied, allowing for maximum use of the space.

Dynamic spaces

Situated on the ground and first floors, the project provided a mix of traditional offices and meeting spaces for staff, along with collaborative breakout areas and a creative media suite, featuring editing facilities.

The ground floor houses the 'traditional' office spaces and cellular offices, along with open plan and collaborative work areas and breakout spaces. To promote activity-based working, open-plan 'nook' meeting spaces were installed to allow staff to pop down and charge their laptop from across the office. The insulated ceiling absorb excess acoustics, while coloured LED lights provide unique personality to each meeting pod.

The space makes full use of the newly installed floor-to-ceiling glass windows, looking out over Bristol's iconic cathedral quarter. The modern finishes are complemented by a wall-art manifestation, depicting Bristol's iconic landmarks. These subtly reflect the colour scheme of each area, with matching hues used both the manifestation and carpet design.

Suitably sustainable

We worked closely with the University to ensure value was achieved at all stages throughout the project, and this included re-using existing materials where possible. We re-used existing ceiling tiles and relocated existing fan coil units, helping keep the project within budget.


Both phases of the project were completed over the course of 27 weeks while the building remained occupied. We handed over two communications rooms early to allow the University to being their custom IT installation ahead of time.

Great George Street

The brief

The University was looking to increase collaboration through bringing staff together under one roof. This allows them to have more spontaneous interaction across divisions and make better use of space through shared meeting, kitchen and common facilities.

Overbury undertook the 35,000 sq ft Cat B fit out across levels 1 – 3, whilst the building remained occupied.

Perfectly coordinated

The University wanted to move towards a more open plan and collaborative working environment. Colour co-ordinated meeting rooms, featuring matching carpets, furniture and paint were used to give different areas a sense of identity. The rest of the office also had new partitioning installed for meeting and conference facilities, along with wall and ceiling finishings.

The colour coordination was extended to breakout meeting spaces, where the different carpet, matching furniture and ceiling rafts helps lower the ceiling to absorb acoustics, while also defining different areas within the open plan fit out.

Fit for the future

To facilitate staff taking an active commute, a new cycle cage and plant area were installed into the shared basement carpark, and enhancements were made to the landlord’s mechanical, electrical and public health systems.

The project also included external road works in both Great George Street and Brandon Hill Park to form a new underground fibre cable duct route. This involved close interaction with local residents and businesses, as newsletters were issued to keep all parties affected by the works up-to-date.

This was Overbury’s first project with the University of Bristol and was finished on time and within budget, paving the way for future works with the University.

I really enjoyed working with the Overbury team. They were professional, friendly and positive – an absolute delight.

Chris Haire, Project Officer, University of Bristol

St Augustine's Courtyard

The brief

The university wanted to relocate professional services staff from elwhere in the university's estate through refurbishing 10,000 sq ft in an existing building. This refurbishment project involved providing a Cat B fit out across five floors of office space.

The fit out of St Augustine's Courtyard was delivered as a staged two-phase approach in two 10 week programmes, allowing for staff to move in a staged approach that didn't impact commitments during busy academic periods. The project provided new M&E and communications infrastructure, as well as numerous tea points and kitchen facilities.

Promoting agile working

This is part of a wider initiative at the university to co-locate colleagues and promote agile working in a modern office environment. The project involved a complete Cat B fit out with new specially designed meeting spaces, offices and flexible work stations. The University now houses a mix of traditional workstations and agile meeting booths where colleagues can either go to concentrate on a particular task or use for a quiet catch up. To help facilitate the University's cylce scheme, a cycle storage space was provided in the basement car park to provide a secure space for staff to leave their bike.

You always resolve things as the project progresses and it's never 'next week' for anything - it's always straight away

Robert O'Reilly, Oxford Architects Partnership

Project features

  • Location Bristol More
  • Sector Education More
  • Size 45,000 sq ft More
  • Duration 15 weeks / 22 weeks

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