St. Albans Cathedral
St. Albans Cathedral
Within our proposal, we offered two Options:
Option 1 is a simple arrangement that closely follows the prescribed brief footprint with an extensive sedum pitched roof over internally exposed pre-insulated precast concrete planks set to form the roof profile and distinctive overhang forming the canopy termination to the east and west.
The elegant canopy is set back from the surrounding structures with a perimeter glass roof, allowing light to wash the roman brick and flint walls of both Cathedral and Chapter House.
Internally, decorative floor finishes have been carefully selected to record the vestiges of the former slype structure and other archaeological findings, particularly the Apsidal Chapels which once adorned the east wall of the South Transept. The Welcome Centre area is defined by carefully considered series of movable furniture units which also double as exhibition units, storage, and seating.
Option 2 features an adjusted footprint responding to the likely presence of archaeological remains along the east facing south transept wall. This allows us to form a particular response to the site within which the story of St. Alban begins from the moment you enter the building.
The distinctive roof structure holds a series of illustrative panels, broken by carefully angled roof light structures which capture specific views of the Cathedral and Chapter House. The Welcome centre is separated from the circulation route by an exhibition wall with high level glazing which allows a degree of acoustic separation between spaces.
The building footprint steps away from the Cathedral where the likely exposed remains of the apsidal chapels to the east of the South Transept are located. The building and landscape in this area forms a sunken garden with the cathedral walls as a powerful backdrop when viewed from within the glazed Welcome Centre. We feel the second option responds in a respectful manner to the site and to the historic references, whilst providing the building with a powerful narrative.
Renders and sketches by Haverstock