Posted Dec 15 2023 | By Mark Fineberg

Inside Bristol Beacon: Before and After

We’ve prepared some side-by-side before-and-after images of the transformation:

1. The Beacon Hall main stage before and during construction where you can see the remnants of the side pier structure. The new stage is wider and taller to fill the enlarged volume with a richer sound.

2. The 1950 balcony steelwork drawing is shown beside the drone shot of the main auditorium during reconstruction. Steel was rationed during this era and resources were scarce.

3. Side wings as designed and as delivered showing screenshots taken from our digital working model with panelling modelled to enhance the acoustics.

4. Before and after the catastrophic fires. Although the second fire occurred at the end of the war, the source of the fire was a discarded cigarette.

5. The photos of balconies before and during construction show how single deep balcony was replaced by two shallower tiers to reduce the acoustic shadow caused by the deep overhang. You can see the bricked up Victorian arched windows that are visible in the following slide.

6. The foyer before and during its transformation into a restaurant. The seemingly solid brickwork piers are al hollow, containing flues and hot air ducts so these were backfilled to strengthen them during the works to support the new floor above that acoustically isolates the restaurant from performances.

7. The building was scanned creating a digital ‘point-cloud’ of dot reference points that was converted into a digital working model. The images here show the interior finishes before they were stripped out.

8. These show the hundreds of tons of steel structure installed before phenomenal quantities of services, three kilometres of ventilation ductwork, nine kilometres of pipework and two hundred and thirty kilometres of cabling, enough to run from Bristol to Nottingham.

9. The historic arch above the bar was discovered during strip-out. The arches framed the aperture for the imperial stair illustrated in the Victorian etching. That classic seventies wallpaper also lined the living room of Elton John’s mum!

10. Facade windows have been reinstated to naturally light the Lantern Hall and a Linda Brothwell sculpture delineates the alignment of the long lost original balustrade.

11. The imperial stair etching is shown in context with these images of the lantern foyer during and after restoration.

12. The final image shows the Beacon Hall main auditorium before and after transformation.