Durham Cathedral – Open Treasure

year Various

category Historic Buildings, Museums & Galleries

client The Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral

location Durham

project value £10M

awards 2018 North East RIBA Award, National RIBA Award.

TGA Consulting Engineers LLP have provided Building Services Conservation Consultancy services to the Client and Cathedral Architect on a number of prestigious projects at Durham Cathedral, including across multiple phases of the Open Treasures project.

Project Summary

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.

Durham Cathedral is an iconic 11th/12th century cathedral which is Grade 1 listed. It is also the heart of Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This complex refurbishment project split into 3 phases in order to relocate essential facilities around the site.

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 involved 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 included 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.

3

Different Phases of the project

5

Full years working on the project

2018

Win of the Conservation Award and the Building of the Year Award at the North East RIBA Awards before going on to win a National RIBA Award.

Services

Refurbishment of a former museum space to form a new Cathedral shop

Refurbishment of a series of major 12th century historic spaces to provide an introductory gallery in the Monk’s Dormitory

Significant range of engineering services

Delivering stringent new environmental controls within the challenging context of a 12th century historic building

Approvals from the Cathedral’s Fabric Advisory Committee and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE) to ensure works are approved

Developed outline proposals during RIBA Stages 2 and 3 and attended presentation with the CFCE

Design a hybrid environmental control system in the Great Kitchen

Electrical services are routed under the floor, carefully above archaeologically sensitive layers

New plant, including chillers, boilers, plate heat exchangers, pumps, air handling plant and close control air conditioning units had to be accommodated

Throughout both Phases 1a and 1b, TGA continuously support, guide and provide the very best technical support for the project and are now currently working with us on Phase 1c along with other projects on site. Score: 70/70 (100%)

Jo Hughes

Property and Facilities Manager, Durham Cathedral