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Restoration of St Mels Cathedral (2011 - 2013)
Architect:Fitzgerald Kavanagh + Partners
Award Type:Silver Conservation Medal
Following a disastrous fire, St Mel’s Cathedral has undergone a remarkable restoration; it represents an impressive collaboration between the community, church and expert practitioners. The considerable dedication and vision of the architects and the complexity of the work over five years included replacement of each the giant central stone columns which required sourcing nearly 10000 tonnes of special limestone.
Jury Citation: St. Mel’s Cathedral was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day 2009. Very quickly the clients decided to restore the building, rather than build a new one. They appointed Richard Hurley, FRIAI (1932-2011) and Fitzgerald Kavanagh as their architects. The team engaged in considerable research, resulting in a studious analysis and programme of repair, renewal and reconstruction. The combination of the liturgical and conservation knowledge of the team has resulted in an exceptional example of collaborative work. The involvement of the community in the entire process is a credit not just to the client, but to the architects, whose inspired approach to the process ensured their engagement and their identity with the cultural inheritance of this building. The integration of technology in the building is subtle as is the exposure of the potential of the vaults. The level of technical knowledge, skills and craft evident in the completed building is a result of the commitment and dedication of the architects to the project.