Horizon House, Bristol

Artist(s): Kate Maestri
Architect/Landscape Architect: Alec French Architects
Client: Westmark Developments

Horizon House, the 6,595 sqm office building occupied by the Environment Agency’s head office in Bristol replaced Cabot House, the former home of Bristol Council’s Planning department.


As part of the overall design of Horizon House, artist Kate Maestri collaborated with the architects to develop contemporary stained glass installations for the two main entrances to the new building. The artwork reinforces the architectural statement of the new building, giving it a clear identity and strong sense of place and enriching the quality of what is both an office and residential space.

The artist interventions included a glazed entrance pavilion on Deanery Road, and canopies above the residential entrances. The artist aimed to create a flow of colour around the building, forming a unifying link between the different facades and the varied uses of the space. The colour palette used was intended to work in harmony with the materials used across the external facade and with the surrounding buildings.

The use of pattern and colour in the stained glass design for the entrance lobby relates to both the architectural detailing of the building and the surrounding vistas. The design also creates a link with Bristol Cathedral, which stands diagonally opposite, and has a variety of stained glass windows. Contemporary mouth-blown stained glass is still made in the traditional way, and the use of this material in the glazing for the entrance lobby forms a visual connection between the new 21st-century building and the historic and beautiful city landmark of the Cathedral.

The green glass used is a single hue washed across the glass facade. It deepens from transparency at street level and graduates through to a fully saturated colour at the top. This allows people using the building to have clear visibility through the glass as they enter or leave the building but still gives sufficient definition of colour to create a focal point.