Soil association headquarters

The Soil Association had been looking for a new headquarters for some time. In 2017 they purchased number 51 Victoria Street in Bristol, with the support from a major donor.

Following an introduction by Alastair Sawday and subsequent competitive interview process, Askew Cavanna were appointed as their architects for the refurbishment and fit out project.

Victoria House is a four storey 1960’s office building, with a large south east facing elevation curtain walling. It has a large glazed south west facing elevation. Whilst the shallow plan with extensive glazing causes issues of overheating, it does have the advantage of giving everyone chance of a view out -not something that was possible in their previous home in South Plaza.

Alongside ourselves, Max Fordham were appointed to carry out a review of services, and the design of mechanical and electrical systems for the refurbishment.

We put forward proposals to fit out on principles of healthy working:



Air Quality                                                       

Thermal comfort

Daylighting and Lighting                                          

Interior layout and Active Design

Biophilia and views                                             

Look and Feel

Locations and access to amenities


Key Features

Spaces opened up with few internal rooms; enhanced natural ventilation; interior planting integral in layout.

Renewed boiler; enhanced ventilation; reflective solar film on windows. 

Large areas of glazing; new LED lighting throughout; internal meeting rooms have fully glazed fronts.

Agile working; variable height and type of workstations, soft furnishings

Natural materials and textures, integrated planting; glazed partitions to increase light and legibility.

Natural materials, use of different textures, open ceilings, exposed services.

Secure bike parking, showers and drying rooms; local facilities include many restaurants and cafés, health clubs and city centre shops in close proximity.

Photos courtesy of Alex Campbell:

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