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Berman Guedes Stretton lands Canterbury Cathedral visitor centre job

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Berman Guedes Stretton (BGS) has won a competition for a new £1.4 million welcome centre at Canterbury Cathedral

The Oxford-headquartered firm defeated Purcell, Thomas Ford + Partners, Walters + Cohen and Wright & Wright to land the Heritage Lottery Fund-backed project.

The £1.4 million visitor centre will be constructed next to the historic precinct entrance at Christ Church Gate.

The structure is expected to provide a ‘Benedictine Welcome’ to the many people who visit the UNESCO-protected Kent landmark (pictured).

The Grade I-listed building is the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and currently receives around one million worshippers and visitors every year.

According to a statement from the studio: ‘Proposals for the conservation of the site will ensure a much more resilient future and act as a catalyst for wider community involvement. 

‘[The] new Welcome Centre will transform how the Cathedral engages with people of all faiths and none and will tell the story of a religious site which has stood the test of time over an extraordinary millennium’s worth of history.’

BGS impressed the judging panel with ‘distinctive approach and response to the brief’, according to the statement.

The document continued: ‘The architects demonstrated a logical process intended to question and challenge the panel’s expectations and to further develop the right brief to deliver this complex project in the sensitive Canterbury Cathedral precincts on a UNESCO world heritage site.’

The practice will work alongside landscape architect Hyland Edgar Driver who won a competition to revamp areas around Canterbury Cathedral in 2013 (see AJ 07.11.13).

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