Leicester Cathedral redesign collects national architecture award

Leicester Cathedral’s King Richard III redesign project, “with Dignity and Honour” has been named as one of the top “best new buildings in the UK”.

The award, made by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), was given to van Heyningen and Haward Architects and architect Josh McCosh.

The project, which delivered the first stage of the re-ordering of the city’s Cathedral and the new tomb for the remains of King Richard III, is included in a list of 49 notable new buildings in the country. It is a list which includes the Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building on Bankside in London and the British Airways i360, dubbed as the world’s first “vertical pier”, in Brighton.

“The reinterment of King Richard III in March 2015 was an event of national significance and international interest and continues to bring Leicester Cathedral to the attention of tens of thousands of people every year,” says the Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith. “The relationships formed with Josh and his team at vHH were integral to the success of the project. So we are thrilled that this award recognises the excellence of the design and craftsmanship involved.  We are now responding to the fresh challenges and opportunities this has brought for our core mission as a place of faith and hope in an increasingly fractured society.”

“The challenge of completing the work within the short timescale allowed was substantial,” says award-winning architect Josh McCosh. “It is testament to the positive teamwork developed with the Cathedral and all involved that the quality of the project is so high, and that it has had such a transformative effect on the Cathedral and the surrounding area. We are delighted that the efforts have been recognised by this National RIBA award.”

Since the reburial of King Richard III, general visitor numbers to the Cathedral have leapt tenfold to over 150,000 a year and it has just been awarded a 2017 Certificate of Excellence, by Trip Advisor, based on the consistently great reviews.

Recently the Cathedral was able to announce an ambitious second stage of its redevelopment. Aided by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, its £11.3m Leicester Cathedral Revealed (LCR) project will build on the success of 2015. The Cathedral plans to restore and celebrate the Victorian and Arts and Crafts elements of the building and will also be developing a striking new heritage learning centre on its site.