Simpson & Brown Architects with Addyman Archaeology

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St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

Simpson & Brown are working with The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans to help realise their vision to provide an improved visitor experience for the Grade I listed St Albans Cathedral, as part of the wider ‘Alban, Britain’s First Saint: Telling the Whole Story’ project.

Commissioned in 2014, the design team has been set a challenging yet exciting brief – to design a new visitor ‘welcome centre’ that will sympathetically connect the main Cathedral building to its 1980’s Chapter House, and provide much-needed accommodation and modern facilities to support the varying needs of the Cathedral congregation, visitors and staff.

Set within the archaeologically sensitive ‘Monk’s Graveyard’ site in Sumpter Yard, the welcome centre will provide a new visitor entrance, retail space, interpretation and exhibition areas, the relocated vestry, and provide new level access between the main Cathedral and Chapter House. Alterations to the Chapter House interiors are also being undertaken to renovate the existing café, provide additional education spaces, and improve accessibility at all levels through the creation of new lift access and washroom facilities.

The architectural design has been through a number of iterations and developed in response to ongoing consultation with the client, key stakeholders, and consultees. Benefitting from investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund, grant-making trusts, and significant financial backing from the local community, the scheme will transform the workings of the Cathedral by providing much-needed ancillary facilities and opening up new opportunities for visitor interpretation. A new outlook towards the west will present previously unseen views over the impressive Cathedral nave and historic cloisters site, and perimeter roof glazing will provide opportunity for appreciation of the South Transept from within the welcome centre and interpretation slype.

The design was awarded planning and listed building consent in July 2016, with construction works anticipated to commence in 2017.

Project name: St Albans Cathedral
Client name: The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban
Contract value: £3M
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