Waking up at Lakeshore I am taunted by weekend guest who says, staring at the ceiling, that it is like waking up in a multi storey car park, but nothing that a few sheets of plasterboard and a slap of paint would not put right!
Surely it’s not only architects and cutting edge developers that appreciate the tactile delight of raw concrete. We have tried to be as true to the original as we could while marking its transformation from corporate HQ to residential community with some significant interventions.
I have been living at Lakeshore for the past 6 weeks or so to put it to the test, and shall continue to do so into the Autumn by when I hope all is complete. I have become very attached to my temporary apartment and shall miss it when I eventually return to my sky-pad over the Tobacco Factory.
In contrast to my own loft with its sweeping views I chose to live at the lowest level, with its balcony hovering over the lake over which the building bridges. When I say to people I think of it as my country cottage they look quizzical, but it is true that this 1970’s ex Imperial Tobacco HQ is set in the best man made landscape in Bristol and, surrounded by an arboretum of trees, I could be anywhere.
My binoculars, which at my home are for looking at affairs on the Clifton hillside, are here for spotting the wildlife and the birds to whose song I wake in the morning. As the pair of swans that have adopted the lake swim towards me, and my breakfast cereal, I also spot the heron standing on the edge of the waterfall and hear the woodpecker doing his stuff. I pinch myself to remind me that I am very much in urban South Bristol and not in some rural idyll.
I go for a walk round the lake, meeting James tending his neat lines of veg in his mini allotment before unplugging the electric Smart car and heading into the centre of the city to see the Bristol Harbour Festival, just 15 minutes away.