As you would expect from a site that has had buildings on it since 673, the additions, alterations and re-purposing over the centuries had ultimately resulted in a tangle of spaces that weren’t well connected and ill-suited to the modern function and accessibility needed in a public building both for worshipers and visitors.
Carpenter Oak, in collaboration with Purcel Architects, oversaw the design, manufacture and raising of the new oak framed cloister entrance that serves both the Abbey and the visitor facilities.
One of the key design considerations was to echo the shape of the existing stone arched doorway. The sling brace trusses had to meet very specific curvature and deflection measurements, so templates were sent to the sawmill to ensure each section could be cut to these parameters. Some of the design features were chosen for historic aesthetic rather than standard detailing, such as the chamfered lapped dovetails and the diamond-shaped ridge beam.
The frame also had to sit in place without any fixings to the existing walls and incorporated timber sprockets to line up with stone mullion windows along the courtyard wall.
‘A beautifully designed, well-delivered new build and refurbishment project which provides important tourism and leisure facilities with both regional and local impact.’ Judge’s citation, RICS North East Renaissance Awards 2015.