The character and range of activities that Bath Abbey accommodates have broadened and changed beyond the capacity of the building and its ancillary spaces to adequately support them. This important project seeks to define a programme of works that will enable the Abbey to meet the needs of a diverse and changing community.
Working at the heart of a World Heritage Site on a Grade I listed building, the design process demands an intimate understanding of the site’s historic and architectural layers. The Abbey is unique in being both a pure example of Perpendicular Gothic, and built directly on the footprint of its Romanesque predecessor. These are only the most recent layers of an archaeological collage that describes at least 2000 years of worship on a site made sacred by the neighbouring hot spring, around which Roman and later settlement was focused. The project sets out to reinforce this historic relationship by using the renewable resource of the hot spring water to provide the Abbey with environmentally responsible heating. Water harnessed and channeled in the Roman period will meet the 21st century challenge of reducing carbon emissions.
A key aspiration is to better stitch the Abbey into its context. A new welcome space and interpretation centre will provide a more open and accessible frontage to the public realm and reveal the archaeological layers of the site's evolution and development. Together with much-needed meeting spaces, offices, refectory, and a song school for one of the country’s best choirs, the scheme aims to ensure that the Abbey will continue to thrive as a place of congregation and performance.
Bath Abbey, Bath
Client: Bath Abbey