Refectory and visitors centre

The new refectory comprised of catering facilities, library entrance, reading room, full height glazed entrances, lead roof, structural timber and fabric conservation.

An insertion within the Cathedral’s cloister continues its centuries old evolution, with respectful yet contemporary design.

As the first of a two-phase project, the Refectory at Norwich Cathedral sets the standard for development plans currently proposed to help sustain the future life of this important ecclesiastical site.

The new building occupies the original refectory site next to the cloisters, replicating the scale of the original building. The main intervention is a freestanding, single story timber box. This isolated structure conceals all services – kitchen, plant and toilets – and its lid forms a mezzanine dining area. The roof structure is then supported from and braced by the box on 9 pairs of oak columns set out in a series of structural bays. Above this, the roof completes the enclosure, sitting lightly over the discretely re-levelled perimeter wall and abutting the existing library with a full-length lead gutter. Roof lights along the library edge also maintain daylight through original leaded windows.

At either end of the lofty enclosure, the inserted timber box stops short of the over sailing roof to leave triple height spaces that sit against the fully glazed gable ends. These spaces add to the light and airy atmosphere and contain entrances, stairs, and a lift, inserted as freestanding elements. Throughout The Refectory, the composition, disposition and juxtaposition of each new element has been carefully considered and co-ordinated.

Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral
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