Simpson & Brown Architects with Addyman Archaeology

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St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

As part of the wider ‘Alban, Britain’s First Saint: Telling the Whole Story’ project, the client set a challenging yet exciting brief to design and construct a new visitor Welcome Centre to sympathetically connect the Grade I listed main Cathedral building to its 1980s Chapter House, and provide much-needed Learning Centre accommodation and modern facilities to support the varying needs of the Cathedral congregation, education groups, visitors and staff.

Set within the archaeologically-sensitive ‘Monk’s Graveyard’ site in Sumpter Yard, the Welcome Centre provides a new visitor entrance, retail space, interpretation and exhibition areas, and a relocated Vestry.  It also creates new level access between the main Cathedral and Chapter House. Extensive alterations to the Chapter House interiors have been undertaken to renovate the existing café, provide additional education spaces, modernise building services, and improve accessibility at all levels through the creation of new 3-door lift access and washroom facilities. The new extension is low-slung so as not to compete with the massing of the Cathedral building.  Perimeter roof glazing provides a light touch connection between new and old, giving opportunity for appreciation of the South Transept and Crossing Tower from within the Welcome Centre and Slype. Previously concealed historic fabric has been carefully restored and left on show to allow further appreciation and interpretation of the historic site.

The landscaping to the front of the new building has been carefully excavated, regraded, and resurfaced to create level access, encourage biodiversity through creation of new planting beds, and provide new outdoor learning opportunities for the Cathedral.

Project name: St Albans Cathedral
Client name: The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban
Contract value: £3M
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