Architect: Marshall Sisson
Client: Peterborough Cathedral
Project completion: 2018
Peterborough Cathedral will celebrate its 900th anniversary in 2018. The Peterborough 900, Letting it Speak for Itself project has been conceived to ensure that the organisation and physical features of the cathedral, and the ecclesiastical buildings within the cathedral precinct, are adapted as necessary to support its work in the future.
David Bonnett Associates was appointed as part of the team working with the cathedral to help achieve its long-term aims. Our initial contribution has been to prepare an access audit of the entire precinct. This followed our standard audit methodology assessing access provisions as a sequential journey, commencing with approach to the site and including car parking and drop-off, principal entrances, horizontal circulation, vertical circulation, facilities, signage, and emergency evacuation.
On the basis of this audit we provided an appraisal of existing accessibility; made recommendations for future improvements and are now helping to establish priorities based on whether the suggested improvements are categorised as either essential or recommended.
The audit report has also recommended longer-term measures which, though not required by current legislation, would bring the standard of access in line with emerging best practice. The next stage will be for Peterborough 900 to address the issues raised as part of the larger project.
Adaptations will range from upgrading unsuitable walking surfaces including loose gravel and uneven stone slabs to creating interpretative exhibitions of the Cathedral, its history and artefacts; currently many of the most interesting items are only visible to people who can climb narrow and irregular steps for the Tower Tour. Some items, such as the lapidarium and font, will be relocated to an accessible and more fitting part of the site.
The conversion of the Knight’s Chamber and adjacent buildings on the south side of the precinct into an education centre, exhibition space, meeting space and cafe will enable visitors to anticipate what the Cathedral offers before entering.
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