Westminster Abbey Triforium Project, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries

  • © GMJ
  • © Alan Williams
  • © Alan Williams
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Alan Williams
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Alan Williams
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Alan Williams
  • © Alan Williams
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Alan Williams
  • © Simon Kennedy
  • © Alan Williams

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Commendation

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Westminster

Information about this scheme

The Triforium space that wraps around the edge of Westminster Abbey’s interior accounts for around a third of its total floor area, and had only been accessible by steep spiral stairs. As it was difficult to reach, the space had been largely abandoned, providing only overspill seating for Coronations, vantage points for filming and an accumulation of stored items and dust. This project provided a new stair and lift tower to offer full visitor access to the eastern Triforium for the first time, along with new level flooring and balustrading to the Triforium openings that overlook the main Abbey below. The project has enabled the Triforium to be regained and put to use as the Abbey’s new Museum galleries. In plan the new tower appears as a rotated square, a pattern found throughout medieval Westminster. Its site in Poets’ Yard is a very tight space, partly screened by a Chapter House flying buttress pier, but still visible from Abingdon Street. The lift core sits at its centre, the size of which was determined by the need to accommodate a visitor in a wheelchair and carer. The core is crowned by a steel structure from which hangs the glazed sides of the tower, which in turn light the oak staircase that wraps around the lift shaft. The detailed design of the tower takes many of its references from the Abbey, including the glazing pattern of rectangular leaded panes of gently wibbled glass. 16 types of stone are banded up the shaft, illustrating the variety used at the Abbey over the centuries. Although modest by comparison with the rest of the Abbey, the new tower is approximately seven storeys tall. In the Triforium a careful programme of cleaning, conservation and repair was undertaken to remove the centuries of dust and dirt, whilst ensuring the historic character and patina of the fabric was retained. New blackened mild steel balustrades have been installed in the previously unguarded arcade openings, their pattern inspired by the cinquefoil openings located above them. As with the decorative aspects of the tower, there was a desire to maintain a ‘background’ architectural character through pattern and ornament, to respect the details of the Abbey. The existing Wren floor structure was retained and strengthened using traditional timber construction and a new oak floor laid. The floor follows the contours of the existing structure whilst ensuring step and ramp free access. The exhibition has been skilfully laid out in response to the daylighting patterns of the existing space to limit UV exposure to objects where required.

Credits

Client

Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey

Architect

Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd

Conservation Architect

Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd

Other

McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA LLP - Exhibition Design)

Main Contractor

Daedalus Conservation

Project Manager

Gardiner & Theobald LLP

Quantity Surveyor

Sawyer & Fisher Ltd (Tower and Galleries)

Services Engineer

Max Fordham LLP

Structural Engineer

The Morton Partnership Ltd (Galleries)

Structural Engineer

Price & Myers LLP (Tower)

Access Consultant

Access=Design

Archaeologist

Pre-Construct Archaeology Ltd

CDMC

Moran Architects Ltd

Conservator

Humphries & Jones

Fire Engineering

Exova Warringtonfire

Lighting Design

DHA Designs (Galleries)

Lighting Design

Max Fordham LLP (Tower)

Signage Graphic Design

Cartlidge Levene

Other

(Consultant Archaeologist) Professor Warwick Rodwell

Other

Building Environment Consultant - Tobit Curteis

Primary Use Class

Class D1h - Public Worship