Dover District Council is recruiting an architect for an £8.4 million revamp of the town’s Grade I-listed Maison Dieu civic complex
The winner of the estimated £804,000 contract will draw up plans to restore the historic landmark which started out as a pilgrim’s hospital in the 13th century and was transformed into a combined courthouse, jail, seat of government and concert hall by William Burges during the 19th century.
The project, planned to complete in 2025, will convert the deteriorating Gothic Revival complex – which is currently only one-third open to the public – into a new cultural venue and destination for the 19 million visitors who pass through Dover every year. An initial design report has already been completed by Haverstock and Rena Pitsilli-Graham Architect.
In its brief, the council says: ‘Despite its fantastical architecture, collection and extraordinary history, the Maison Dieu today is lost in plain sight. It is forgotten by the community and considered uninviting. It is missed by cruise visitors from around the world and almost entirely unknown to historians and architectural scholars.
‘The vision for the project is to reawaken the Gothic fantasy that is the Maison Dieu by creating a thriving cultural venue and opening the building for the first time to visitors and the community. The project will place the Maison Dieu back at the heart of the Dover community, restore its position as an international stepping stone and act as an anchor for Dover’s regeneration.’
The Maison Dieu was built in 1203 as a hospital for pilgrims from across Europe visiting the shrine to St Thomas Beckett in nearby Canterbury. The complex was transformed into a victualling yard following the dissolution of the monasteries and later taken over by the local council and converted into a civic complex.
Occupying a prominent position on Dover High Street, the building is currently used as an events venue but only small parts of the complex are open to the public. The latest project aims to ‘reawaken this Gothic fantasy’ and transform the Maison Dieu into a new visitor destination.
The winning architect-led Design Team will develop the scheme from RIBA Stage 0 through to completion. Bids will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost.
The deadline for applications is 5pm, 4 January.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Dover District Council
White Cliffs Business Park
Tel: +44 7701294353