December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The mixture of old and new at Norwich Cathedral has been chosen as the pick of Norfolk’s modern architecture by local Architect Matt Wood.
Mr Wood, director of Wymondham-based architects Lucas Hickman Smith, is chairman of the Festival of Architecture in Norwich and Norfolk (FANN13) committee.
The festival is organised by the Norfolk Association of Architects, which is a regional branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Mr Wood was asked by the EDP to choose his favourite example of modern architecture in the county and said: “Specifically, I have chosen the Sir Michael Hopkins buildings at the cathedral, the Hostry and the Refectory.
“The festival is celebrating contemporary architecture and, in the context of Norwich and the particular challenge we face, in that it somehow makes sense and it sits alongside all the old buildings and leaves some quality behind, so that today’s buildings become tomorrow’s heritage buildings.
“Not many people know that Hopkins worked with Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, who designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Lloyds building in London.
“The three of them were behind the English high-tech movement, which basically puts the guts of the building on the outside, as you can see with the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich.”
The 12th century cathedral has had plenty of repairs to its buildings during its 900 years of dominating the city skyline.
In 2004, the Refectory was opened on the south side of the cathedral’s cloisters and work on the Hostry started in April 2007, before being opened by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in May 2010. Mr Wood said the successful integration of modern architecture with some of the cathedral’s buildings had charmed him.
“Hopkins designed the Mound Stand at Lords [cricket ground] and went off in a very different direction to Rogers and Foster,” Mr Wood continued.
“He was equally comfortable using materials that were very modern and can be very difficult, like brick and stone. You never see Norman Foster building with brick and stone, although his buildings are very modern in structure, Hopkins creates architecture that has a kind of warmth that makes it sit well next to old buildings.
“He used the same stone and lead on the roof and for the bit in between he used oak and steel.”
The Refectory and Hostry are not the only buildings to bear the distinctive Hopkins style though, as Mr Wood added: “The Forum was designed by Hopkins and it faces St Peter Mancroft Church. The soft brick contrasts with the glass and steel on the front, which is very interesting because he is one of the only architects to blend very modern with heavy and traditional materials.
“We are very lucky in Norwich to have an absolutely top quality Foster building in the Sainsbury Centre and a Hopkins in The Forum.”