Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. Originally built in 597, destroyed by fire, and then rebuilt between 1070 and 1077, it is now part of a World Heritage Site. The new Welcome Centre for visitors to the Cathedral is part of ‘The Canterbury Journey’ project by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Centre was designed by architects Berman Guedes Stratton (BGS Architects) and includes a viewing gallery providing views of the Cathedral and precincts, as well as showcasing objects from the Cathedral’s historic collections and providing space for learning, workshops, presentations and performances.
BGS Architects were looking for a blackout blind solution for a large unusually shaped rooflight constructed in the new Welcome Centre.
Our Specification Manager visited the architect’s office and brainstormed various options with them, finally settling on a triangular ShadeTech MSW 2000 R blind, to draw across the full length of the rooflight (3600 x 7000 mm).
Initially the requirement was to conceal the blind cassette into the web of the steel running around the lower section of the rooflight well, but – once the steels were erected – it became clear that this would not work. The architects were also not happy with relieving rollers – which would be a necessary part of the design – as they would detract from the view of the Cathedral.
Our Specification Manager visited site with the architect to look at how to overcome these issues. We then suggested moving the blind to the top of the light well, so that it was tight under the glazing, and substituted the relieving rollers for 10mm diameter rods mounted in line with the glazing bars to minimise any obstruction when viewing the Cathedral.
To help minimise light ingress, we also specified a channel to both sides of the blind, and a bespoke cover plate at the apex to cover the inherent light gap at that point. Control is by a simple RTS motor with hand held remote.
This has been a very interesting project and a challenging one! The completed blind installation however is a great success and it was great to work with Buxton Building Contractors on this project. See our video.
Thanks & credit to Fiona Lauchlan – BGS Architects – for aerial pictures of the Welcome Centre taken from the Cathedral tower during the building works.