Winchester Cathedral Learning Centre
ARCHITECT: Hampshire County council architects
CLIENT: The Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral
AWARDS WON: RIBA South Award 2016
The Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral have been developing a programme of new and innovative opportunities for learning and participation at the Cathedral to increase access for a wider audience. The project has extended the learning facilities into a new building within the garden of No 10A The Close as well as remodelling the existing facilities. It provides a new auditorium which is a multi-functional and fully accessible space with the capacity for a whole school year group at a time. It will enable a much greater range of activities and bring a completely new perspective to understanding of life in the Cathedral’s past. The whole site is designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and surrounding range of buildings are Grade I listed.
This is a modest but great new building which engages with its context. The exterior spaces are integrated and it successfully unites the new with the existing. Its simplicity in form and detailing adds to the overall success.
The building sits well on its plot, orientation is good, there is excellent use of the space and while bold in architectural language, it is self-effacing in materials and stature. The timberframed green oak frame building, with matching timber benches and red clay roof tiles, is set in a small courtyard within the grounds of the cathedral. The fine detailing includes traditional wooden pegs at the head of the beams and a fully glazed façade to the education centre which enjoys views of the cathedral. Internally, a high ceiling forms part of the Learning Centre; a timber brise-soleil at either end provides solar shading; and there are large internal glazed doors along both sides.
The disabled access is well-negotiated and works despite the changes of level; there is level access from the car park to both existing and new buildings. This scheme was complicated to build with the difficult access, so everything was erected by a specially-commissioned fork-lift truck. But the result is a thoughtful, well-detailed and delightful little building that will stand the test of time and proved a great learning environment.
CONTRACTOR: John Hobden Limited
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: Mann Williams
Environmental ENGINEERS: Hampshire County Council
TIMBER FRAME CONTRACTOR: INWOOD
INTERNAL AREA: 192 sqm
PHOTOGRAPHER/S: NICK KANE