Durham Cathedral Open Treasure

TGA Consulting Engineers LLP have been employed by the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral to work as conservation building services engineers as part of team led by Purcell Architects on a major HLF funded project to redevelop their exhibition spaces. Phase 1b of Open Treasure created a series of major gallery / exhibition spaces which are used for the display and interpretation of the collection of treasures held by the Cathedral as well as for the display of visiting exhibitions.

The works took place in medieval buildings within Durham’s World Heritage Site and in the context of an active cathedral church and major tourist attraction. The new facilities incorporate modern building engineering services carefully designed to minimise the impact on historic fabric and the aesthetic appeal of the spaces in which they are installed whilst meeting the stringent requirements of our Client.

Modern lighting installations have been designed to enable a variety of exhibits to be lit to their best advantage whilst controlling exposure to light, heat and ultraviolet light and minimising the use of energy. Environmental control systems have been designed which make best use of the inherent qualities of the buildings in order to control temperature and humidity for the benefit of visitors, artefacts and the building itself whilst using as little energy as possible and minimising the impact on the building fabric. The Monk’s Dormitory (pictured above) and the Great Kitchen each incorporate new heating systems controlled on conservation heating principles with a view to controlling relative humidity without causing issues within historic, porous stonework.

Phase 1b was completed in 2016 and has subsequently won multiple awards including the 2018 RIBA North East Conservation Award and Project of the Year, a 2018 RIBA National Award and a Civic Trust Conservation Award.

We are currently working on Phase 1c of the Open Treasure in which environmentally controlled glazed lobbies are being introduced into the Cathedral Church.