Durham Cathedral - Open Treasure

Open Treasure was intended to refurbish a series of spaces, generally inaccessible to the public, within the former claustral buildings to provide new facilities in which the medieval treasures of St Cuthbert could be exhibited.
Phase 1a involved the relocation of the Vestry and the subsequent refurbishment of a former museum space to form a new Cathedral shop. This allowed the existing shop to be closed freeing up the space occupied for Phase 1b.


Phase 1b involve the refurbishment of a series of major 12th century historic spaces to provide an introductory gallery in the Monk’s Dormitory, a new special exhibitions gallery formed by removing and replacing a modern insertion between historic buildings, new exhibition facilities for Cuthbert’s Treasures in the historic Great Kitchen and refurbishing the Refectory Library to make it suitable to house the medieval manuscripts which are stored in it.

Phase 1c, which is presently underway, involves the formation of new Porches within the Cathedral Church itself to provide enhanced access routes to the Treasures Exhibition and the shop whilst revealing the majesty of the Romanesque door portals and protecting the historic stonework from extreme and fluctuating external environmental conditions which would accelerate its degradation.

The project elements which were intended to form new exhibition and library facilities were also tasked with delivering stringent new environmental controls within the challenging context of a 12th century historic building constructed from porous stone, with extremely limited plant space in a working cathedral.

Phases 1a and 1b of Open Treasure won the Conservation Award and the Building of the Year Award at the 2018 North East RIBA Awards before going on to win a National RIBA Award.