As the first of a two-phase project, the Refectory sets the standard for development plans proposed to help sustain the future life of this important ecclesiastical site.

Occupying the original refectory site next to the cloisters, the building replicates the scale of the original. The main intervention is a freestanding, single story timber box. This isolated structure conceals all services - kitchen, plant and toilets - and its lid forms a mezzanine dining area. The roof structure is then supported from and braced by the box on 9 pairs of oak columns set out in a series of structural bays. Above this, the roof completes the enclosure, sitting lightly over the discretely re-levelled perimeter wall, and abutting the existing library with a full-length lead gutter. Roof lights along the library edge also maintain daylight through original leaded windows.

At either end of the lofty enclosure, the inserted timber box stops short of the over sailing roof to leave triple-height spaces that sit against the fully glazed gable ends. These spaces add to the light and airy atmosphere, and contain entrances, stairs, and a lift, inserted as freestanding elements. Throughout the project, the composition, disposition and juxtaposition of each new element has been carefully considered and co-ordinated.

For further details of the nearby Hostry project, please click here.


  • Location Norwich, United Kingdom
  • Value £12.5 million (Hostry, Refectory & Upper Cloister)
  • Size 991 m²
  • Client Norwich Cathedral
  • Year 2004

Selected Awards

  • Civic Trust Award
  • RIBA Regional Award
  • Royal Fine Art Commission Trust: Building of the Year Award
  • The Wood Awards: Gold Award
  • Architect of the Year Awards