Binham Priory is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, incorporating ruins of the priory and the priory church, which is still intact and used as the parish church; these structures stand in an extensive site with a large graveyard to the North.
Bury St Edmunds based Whitworth were appointed to the development stages of this project. This involved improving access into the site, undertaking some repairs to the historic fabric, and creating new service facilities for the site, located in the previously un-used north aisle space. We were appointed to take this work forward through detailed design and construction to completion. The new structure was designed to sit discretely within the site, carefully integrated within the remains of the old North aisle structure. It was constructed using traditional materials, enabling it to blend in, contextually, with the existing structures, but with a distinct modern twist. Careful detailing and selection of materials has formed an understated structure that nestles into the site. Whilst providing the required service facilities in a refined and elegant building. This structure encompassed new toilet and kitchen facilities, along with space for interpretation and display of artefacts from the site, whilst providing a new entrance into the historic church building.
This building carefully blends in with the site, and is integrated into the landscape and architecture of the site in its form, layout materials and detailing. The new structure connects to the existing via a North aisle arch, which has been re-opened. In this corner, we have formed an oak ribbed structure as a reminder of the stone vaulting that once spanned across the space. This forms a new foyer entrance space into the church through the new North entrance door. The new North entrance was created by taking a gently sloping path from the car park on the edge of the site down toward the church. This forms a fully accessible entrance into the building; making it completely accessible for the first time. This new structure has improved visitor facilities and enabled larger numbers of visitors to enjoy this unique historic site. At the same time as serving the local worshiping congregation, enabling them to facilitate events in the church and provide hospitality.
This project has won several awards including The Graham Allen Conservation Award North Norfolk and the RIBA Spirit of Ingenuity highly commended.