The vision for the jail is to return this much understated heritage asset of national importance to its former glory, and in so doing make it a leading visitor attraction, venue, hotel and teaching facility for local schools and universities that gives back to Bodmin, Cornwall and the UK.
Set over 4 storeys, with 70 boutique rooms, The Bodmin Jail Hotel is a new full sensory accommodation experience that intertwines the imposing original architecture of the threehundred-year-old jail with creative, contemporary design. Each luxury room has been transformed from three prison cells, retaining many of the original features including the existing barred windows, weathered stone walls and ceilings.
Before the project began in 2015, much of the jail had completely lost its roof structure, leaving most of the building open to the elements and covered in foliage. Finishes had been stripped over the years and some walls damaged from demolition attempts. Using the principles of the original roof, the atria are now naturally lit through a contemporary full-length skylight.
Our design philosophy was to create a series of diverse spaces aimed at heightening the unique qualities of the building while creating an immersive visitor experience at every touchpoint. Thismulti-sensory experience begins as guests approach the building and witness the dramatic view of the jail tower together with the new sky lights. Once inside the historic perimeter wall, the first experience of containment is felt, and guests are able to soak up the full drama of the impressive and commanding jail wings of the main building. Visitors are greeted at the lobby which ispurposefully narrow to increase the impact of the Civil Wing atrium where they can get their first glimpse of the naturally lit space with reinstated walkways and views of the iconic tower through the skylight.
Under the museum proposals, an exciting ‘Dark Walk’ experience will set the scene for visitors to appreciate the Jail’s vivid stories. A state of the art, automated theatrical space will use the latest technology with a range of scenic sets, films and projections. The experience will re-create and immerse the visitor in the history of the building and the experience of what it was like to be in Bodmin Jail in the 18th & 19th centuries.
The project was completed and opened in May 2021
Lead Consultant, Architects and Masterplanners: Twelve Architects and Masterplanners
Landscape, transport, air quality, ecology, geotechnical/geoenvironmental engineering, structural, mechanical, electrical, and public health (SMEP) building engineering: Arup
Fire Engineering: Astute Fire
Planning & Heritage Consultants: Montagu Evans
Cost management, project management: TPI
Attraction Consultants: Sarner International
Main Contractor: C-Field
Photographer: Jack Hobhouse