Sector: Public & Community

Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre & Museum

Project Description

The aim of the project was to provide improved visitor and staff facilities, and an upgraded museum building to meet modern curatorial standards and encourage visitors into ticketed areas

Constraints on budget and site provided an opportunity to retain and adapt parts of the timber structure of the old visitor centre.

The most significant element of the project is the insertion of a new central hall within the existing L-shaped plan

Rievaulx Abbey now has a beautifully sculpted gateway in the form of a new visitor centre

A series of arches frames and guides visitors as they move towards the ruins of the 12th century abbey, while simple glazed gable ends minimise the physical interruptions between the visitor and the panorama of the ruins

The materials and detail demonstrate a quality of the craftmanship and convey a sense of humility and calmness as if not to disturb the monastic rituals of the abbey behind

The detailing of the internal elements enhance the quality of lights, focus and at the same time, framing and guiding the visitors to experience the natural elements of the immediate setting

RIBA Yorkshire Award Winner 2017

Wood Awards Commercial & Leisure Category Winner 2017

Award winning £1.2m upgrade and refurbishment of the visitor centre and museum associated with the 12th century abbey

Project Involvement

Provided a bespoke solution for the restaurant lighting, working closely with the architect to ensure the desired ambience was achieved

Liaised extensively with the English Heritage Security Advisor to upgrade the security systems and enable the secure display of rare artefacts

Designed new fire alarm systems, enabling the Museum to be linked to the Visitor Centre

Worked with the Curator to develop a suitable climate control system for the artefact display case

Involved the English Heritage M&E Engineer in all design developments, ensuring that the building services met the required engineering standards in a building which required all services to be hidden

Designed a bespoke ventilation system for the commercial kitchen with enhanced filtration and sound attenuation.

Project Benefits

Upgraded commercial kitchen and restaurant enabled the Visitor Centre to increase covers

Improved heating and ventilation systems allowed the building to be open to the public year-round

Climate control and enhanced security to the Museum meant that rare artefacts can be displayed

Discreet building services design allows for uninterrupted views to the Abbey

A larger shop with bespoke display cabinets and lighting provides greater retail opportunities.