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Visitor Interpretation Centre, Coventry MacCormac Jamieson Prichard

working details

The centre, housing an exhibition and a meeting place for the city's multi-faith group, is a two-storey pavilion with a delicate canopy roof which appears to float over a glazed clerestory.

The building and two new gardens adjacent are built on the site of Coventry's 11th century priory and cathedral, destroyed in the 16th century. Some of the remaining 11th century cathedral wall has been revealed in the building. The clerestory on the south facade rests on a section of new random coursed Hoddington stone to match the 18th century wall below, which is built on the cathedral wall.

The roof structure, a series of profiled and tapered beams, is supported by a row of 1,000 x 300mm columns at 5m centres. It tapers at its edges to a louvred canopy which extends beyond the clerestory glazing. The canopy consists of a series of steel-framed louvre panels bolted to tapering 356 x 171mm UB supports.

The south wall is 30m long and varies in thickness. Its junction with the crisp clerestory glazing - an aluminium-framed curtain wall system - is resolved at the sill. The glazing is set on a 100 x 50mm steel channel into which a series of precast concrete sill slabs is slotted;

each slab is 1,242mm wide and was sawn to suit the changing thickness of the wall. The internal slate sill slots between the channel and the top of the wall.

At its base the original wall was relatively fragile when excavated; to maintain its stability it has been buttressed with a precast concrete and blockwork bench seat. The back of the seat is filled with a mixture of lime mortar and stone to conserve the wall in its original condition.

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