Lincoln Cathedral Visitor Centre, Lincoln – Projects
Community & Public
- Simpson & Brown
- Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral is one of the finest surviving medieval cathedrals in Northern Europe. As part of a conservation and development program, Elliott Wood provided permanent and temporary engineering solutions that help radically improve the setting and visitor experience and conserve the cathedral for future generations to enjoy.
A key component of the project is the renovation and extension of the Grade II-listed Old Deanery by William Burn to deliver a new visitor centre. Designed by Simpson and Brown, the centre connects to the Grade I-listed Sir Christopher Wren Library and Cloister and features a shop and café, community rooms and exhibition space to display some of the cathedral’s historically significant artifacts. In the new single-storey limestone building, Elliott Wood used digital parametric modelling to influence the overall roof aesthetic. To preserve the twisted roof geometry, we introduced two inclined and tapering glulam timber roof trusses, separated by a central skylight. This dramatic and structurally honest element minimises the need for artificial lighting and allows visitors to gaze in awe at the surrounding stonework towering above. The primary exhibition space will feature the original 12th-century Romanesque frieze – arguably one of Western Europe’s most important medieval relief carvings – that was removed from the cathedral’s west front due to centuries of weathering.
Beneath the building, challenging ground conditions and a scheduled ancient monument status led Elliott Wood to introduce an innovative, compensated balanced raft foundation solution that was praised by Historic England. This pioneering solution ensures loads from the new building do not damage the significant below-ground archaeology, but instead leave it in place for investigation by future generations.
On the cathedral’s west front, Elliott Wood engineered a temporary podium deck to enable the meticulous renovation and removal of the frieze, and broader façade cleaning and repair. Using 3D radar scanning, we collected more than a billion data points to intricately map the elevation and coordinate an optimal deck level, frame tie-back positions, and bespoke restraint brackets. Based on these investigations, we implemented an innovative, cantilevered hot-rolled steel podium framework that will require only minimal reinstatement of finishes once it is dismantled, saving time and money. Elliott Wood also provided temporary engineering solutions for the restoration of the nearby Exchequergate Arch.
This vital conservation work preserves the architecture and history of Lincoln Cathedral as an internationally important monument, and supports its ambition to be a place of worship, music, craftsmanship and discovery for over 100,000 additional new visitors each year.