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Contest launched to revamp pilgrims’ approach to Canterbury Cathedral

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Malcolm Reading Consultants has opened a design contest to overhaul the landscape surrounding Canterbury Cathedral’s main entrance

The estimated £1 million project will focus on the cathedral precincts next to the Grade I-listed building’s West Front and Church Gate however the exact site and budget will be determined by the winner.

The 1,400 year-old building – known as the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion – receives more than a million visitors each year but its main approach was last improved in the 1940s.

The cathedral is now looking for a design team to bring the area up to ‘modern expectations’ while showing ‘sensitivity to the classic and historic qualities’ of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Canterbury Cathedral site plan. Image by Malcolm Reading Consultants

Source: Image by Malcolm Reading Consultants

Canterbury Cathedral site plan. Image by Malcolm Reading Consultants

John Meardon, Canterbury Cathedral’s receiver general said:  ‘More than a million visitors enter the Precincts every year and the setting of the Cathedral is their first contact with this numinous and astonishingly beautiful building. The welcome we offer them should show us at our best.’

Competitoin organiser Malcolm Reading said: ‘It’s an unusual challenge for a team, mixing landscape and place-making with a respect for a setting with the highest heritage protection. This is a space that needs to be welcoming, offer sanctuary and also opportunities for celebration.

‘We are hoping for collaborations that balance a rich mix of different skills with sensitivity to the needs of visitors, pilgrims and the church community.’

A shortlist of five teams will be chosen to develop their schemes over the summer and receive an honorarium. The winners are due to be announced in the autumn.

Founded by St Augustine in 579 AD, the building was completely rebuilt by the Normans in 1070 and has been continually repaired and added to over the following centuries.

The deadline to enter the competition’s first stage is 17 July.








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