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Work starts on Feilden Fowles’ ‘Gothic’ cathedral extension

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Construction has started on Feilden Fowles’ long-awaited new welcome and teaching centre at Carlisle Cathedral

The firm won planning consent for the 835m² scheme in late 2016 and secured the go-ahead from the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England shortly after.

The work, described as ‘the most significant physical intervention on the site for more than 150 years’, was originally scheduled to complete this spring but is not now expected to finish until the end of the year.

Since approval, construction costs have risen £140,000 to £2.42 million. The scheme has £2 million of Heritage Lottery Fund backing.

The proposal will redevelop and extend the Grade I-listed fratry, built in the 1500s as the dining hall for the cathedral priory, which currently houses one of the largest cathedral collections of 17th and 18th century books in England.

A new 185m² ‘lightweight’ entrance building linked to the refurbished fratry features elevations inspired by the cathedral’s East Window, the largest and most intricate of its type in England. 

Ingrid Petit, associate at Feilden Fowles, said: ’We’re delighted to see this important commission starting on site after years in the making. The project has been an opportunity for the practice to design a new intervention and public space linked to a historically significant building at the heart of the cathedral precinct and the city.’

The practice has been working on the scheme alongside engineers Structure Workshop and landscape architects Petherick, Urquhart and Hunt since winning an invited tender in May 2014.

02 elevation 01

 

Architect’s view

The single-storey, new-build entrance pavilion is located to the north-west of the fratry and references the historic West Range building which was destroyed after the Reformation.

The pavilion reintroduces a reflective public space at the heart of the cathedral precinct and the city. It also provides a welcoming area where members of the Cathedral community can greet visitors and school groups, allowing the cathedral to engage with more people in new ways and transform its teaching and learning activities.

A lightweight, fully glazed bronze structure connects the pavilion to the split levels of the refurbished existing fratry building, where exhibitions, performances and events will take place.

Designed in collaboration with engineers Structure Workshop, this link structure contrasts with the red sandstone elevations of the pavilion, which are inspired by the surrounding arches and by the refinement of the Perpendicular Gothic tracery. Designed following extensive public consultations in 2016, the traditional arched forms set into fine rectilinear stonework will create interesting shadow patterns throughout changing daylight and seasons.

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Project data

Address Carlisle Cathedral, The Abbey, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 8TZ
Site area 1,500m²
Proposed gross internal area 835m² (existing area 650m²  + proposed area 185m²)
Construction value£2,426,600
Client Carlisle Cathedral
Architect Feilden Fowles
Project architects Fergus Feilden and Ingrid Petit
Structural engineer Structure Workshop
Conservation architect Buttress Architects
Landscape architect Petherick, Urquhart and Hunt
Quantity surveyor FWP
Services engineer BCA
Project manager FWP
Main contractor Cubby Construction
Visualisations Forbes Massie, Feilden Fowles
Funding Heritage Lottery Fund

Ff carlisle 07 site photo feb 2019

Site photo, February 2019

Site photo, February 2019

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