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Berman Guedes Stretton submits Canterbury Cathedral plans

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Berman Guedes Stretton (BGS) has submitted a planning application for its competition-winning Canterbury Cathedral welcome centre

The Oxford-headquartered firm beat Purcell, Thomas Ford + Partners, Walters + Cohen and Wright & Wright to land the Heritage Lottery Fund-backed project early last year (see AJ 02.02.15).

The proposed 390m² building will provide new facilities for visitors, pilgrims and local residents next to the cathedral’s Grade I-listed Christ Church Gate.

Providing new vistas of the world-famous church, the development will feature a multi-purpose events space and a permanent exhibition of Herbert Oakley’s models of English and European cathedrals.

According to a statement from the studio: ‘Great care has been given to the relationship between the new Welcome Centre and its context due to its prominent location. Its external appearance is driven by how the building is seen from the important views across the site.

‘The external elevations have been conceived as an assortment of forms which respond hierarchically to the wider context of the Precincts including a reconstructed mixed flint and stone landscape wall; screened openings to yards behind the wall; two storey “townhouses” which respond to the proportions of the precincts buildings opposite; the partial retention of the Proctors Lodgings.’

The statement continued: ‘The functional configuration of the interior spaces is driven by the logic of how visitors access and experience the new facilities, both on arrival to the precincts and on departing the site. The various internal spaces flow together to provide an enhanced visitor experience.’

‘These spaces will have a consistency of design and detailing in order to prevent the visitor experience from becoming chaotic and confusing. In order to achieve this, the interior has been conceived as being a uniform series of linked timber clad “jewellery boxes”, inserted behind the disparate elevation treatments.’

The £2 million structure is expected to provide a ‘Benedictine Welcome’ to the many people who visit the UNESCO-protected Kent landmark.

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

Project details

Location: Canterbury
Type of project: Culture/ Leisure
Client: Canterbury Cathedral
Architect: Berman Guedes Stretton
Landscape architect: Hyland Edgar Driver Landscape Architects and Urban Designers
Planning consultant: N/A
Structural engineer: The Morton Partnership
M&E consultant: The Norman Bromley Partnership
Quantity surveyor: Artelia UK
Planning supervisor: N/A
Lighting consultant: N/A
Main contractor: N/A
Funding: N/A
Tender date: N/A
Start on site date: N/A
Completion date: N/A
Contract duration: N/A
Gross internal floor area: 390m2
Form of contract and/or procurement: N/A
Total cost: £2m 

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