Cathedral transformation recognised in civic trust awards

By Tim Aldred

19 Apr 2023

Carlisle Cathedral 009

The transformation of the medieval Fratry at Carlisle Cathedral which architecture, design and masterplanning practice FWP helped deliver has been highly commended in the 2023 Civic Trust Awards.

The annual award ceremony, now in its 64th year, was established to celebrate outstanding architecture, planning and design.

The winners were announced at a prestigious event in London. Praising the Fratry project, the judges said: “The scheme has been executed with a high level of attention to detail and with a strong singular concept”, demonstrating sustainability and accessibility, and providing a positive civic contribution.

More than 11 years since its conception, work on the Grade I-listed Fratry building was completed in June 2020.

The £3.4m project was funded by a £1.9m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and a major fundraising campaign supported by the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral, grant-making trusts, donations by members of the public and events at the cathedral.

Preston headquartered FWP acted as project manager and quantity surveyor. Partner Kate Shuttleworth is delighted it has been recognised by the award judges. She said: “The development was not without challenges and its success was built on genuine teamwork and collaboration.

“We brought all our project and cost management experience to the project and fostered that team ethic that proved so important in its delivery. All the consultants involved went over and above the call of duty to ensure its success.

“The result is a striking development that has opened up one of the most significant heritage buildings in the city to all and has made the cathedral a popular destination for visitors.

“Completing and successfully delivering this complex project on such a sensitive site gave everyone involved a real sense of achievement. We are very proud to have played our part.”

The aim of the work was to bring the building back to life, making it a cultural hub in the city centre with the addition of the pavilion café, as well as education, exhibition and event spaces in the Fratry Hall and Undercroft.

It has allowed the cathedral to engage with more people in new ways and transform its teaching and learning activities.

The scheme also involved essential conservation work to the building’s roof and stonework. Sandstone was chosen for the pavilion to blend in with the existing stonework. Entry to the Fratry is now through an impressive, lightweight, fully glazed bronze structure.

Feilden Fowles was project architect and Structure Workshop provided the structural engineering expertise.

The Revd Canon Michael Manley, Canon Missioner and Interim Dean at the cathedral, said: “We are delighted to hear the news of this commendation in due recognition of all who supported and effected such an amazing building.

“It has become a worthy partner in the cathedral’s determination to reach out to all, in the 21st century and beyond”.

FWP has built a strong reputation for its expertise on sensitive restoration and regeneration projects. It is part of the team currently delivering the £16m redevelopment of Rochdale’s Grade I-listed town hall – another NLHF-funded programme.

FWP also led the £5m restoration of the historic fish market canopy and the main outdoor market canopy in Preston city centre. The listed structures underwent extensive refurbishment restoring them to their former glory.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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