Ripon Cathedral, grade I

One of the great buildings of the north, Ripon Cathedral was founded by St Wilfrid in 650 with craftsmen from Europe. Dedicated to St Peter in 672, now only the Saxon crypt survives below the magnificent Norman and Gothic construction above. The bright West Front dates from 1220, and is one of the best examples of the Early English Gothic style. John Ruddy, CARE engineer has been the Structural Engineer for a number of packages of work over the years.

The North West Masonry Repair Work Package, £300,000

Work has included undertaking a detailed assessment of the condition of the structure, advising on strengthening repair proposals, advising on the construction of the scaffolding. This included assessing the strength of the transept roof onto which it bears. And finally, ongoing advice and support over the course of the construction contract during 2015.

New West End Narthex Structure, £250,000

Completed in 2014, the major structural challenge of the narthex, consisting of 3 structures, one of which is of two storey proportions, is that it was designed fully in structural bronze (CZ116/CW705R High Tensile Brass), with fabrication by Don Barker, sculpture-craftsman.

This involved a high degree of research into the material, and extensive discussions with Don, the fabricator, to ensure that the structure was not only structurally sound, but could be fabricated using hand techniques, and was readily transportable and constructible in the Cathedral.

With the needs of conservation ever to the fore, I designed shallow foundation slabs for the structures, that could be easily adapted on site should archaeological material be encountered (a technique I had previously used at Kirskstall Abbey). Also, despite the need to cater for significant wind pressures (with the outer doors open, inner doors shut), I reduced the fixings into the masonry down to only a pair per structure. Should the narthex structures ever be replaced, these fixings are detailed so that they can be reused with any replacement.

Client - The Cathedral
Cathedral Architect - Oliver Caroe, Caroe Architecture