The existing Southwark Cathedral building dates from 1220 and is now the oldest Gothic Church in London. It was elevated to Cathedral status in 1906. The Millennium Project centred on the construction of a new range of buildings to link the Cathedral’s Victorian offices with the Chapter House.
The Cathedral was restored, cleaned and architecturally lit and the entire churchyard area expanded and landscaped into a public green space. The development also included a new interactive Visitor’s Centre, a millennium square incorporating a refectory, a library with specially commissioned stained glass by Ben Finn, teaching and seminar rooms and a new walkway where archaeological finds are on view to passers by. A former Roman Road and a 17th-18th century Delftware pottery kiln which were revealed during construction works have been conserved and left exposed at the east end of the street.
Throughout the project high quality traditional skills and materials were used to ensure that the new buildings joined seamlessly to the existing. Hand crafted tile arches – two flat and nineteen curved – were built in situ. The high degree of accuracy in the setting of each tile was achieved by a skilfull and experienced bricklayer working with the aid of a fine string line secured at the striking point some two metres below with which to check the alignment of the tile while it was being tapped solidly into place.
Careful and regular liaison took place with English Heritage at all stages of the project, who also grant aided the restoration works to the Cathedral.
The project won a number of awards including Construction Manager of the Year (CIOB), Silver RIBA Award and the Civic Trust Award.
Southwark Cathedral Offices
Richard Griffiths Architects, Rider Levett Bucknall, Alan Baxter & Associates, Max Fordham & Partners