Feilden+Mawson were appointed in 2017 as architects to the Norwich Castle Keep: Gateway to Medieval England project, which aims to refurbish the Grade I listed Castle Keep. The Keep is the home of Norwich Castle Museum, and the purpose of the refurbishment is to support the long-term beneficial use of the building by creating an enhanced visitor experience and venue.
It is an architecturally and archaeologically complex building to refurbish due to the many layers of historic fabric. Due to the sensitivity of the site, we have worked closely with Historic England, representatives from Norwich City and Norfolk County Council, and historians throughout the project to inform our work, and achieve their buy-in for this ambitious scheme. Our careful and informed approach to the project has meant that we have been able to achieve several beneficial changes to the building which have been recognized as heritage gains to the built heritage asset as well as a major public benefit.
Improving inclusive access has always been a primary objective of the project. We have designed a new bridge which will provide a necessary link between the reinstated principal floor and the museum’s 1960s block, to greatly enhance fire safety, inclusive access, and enable higher visitor capacity. We are also improving wayfinding and flow by forming a new main entrance and reception area for the Castle Museum and creating separate entrances for school parties and weddings, which often congest the main entrance space.
Furthermore, the proposals will provide access for all to the previously inaccessible battlement walks via a new lift and viewing platform. All visitors will soon be able to experience the relationship between the Keep and the city around it in a way that has not been experienced in hundreds of years. This will be the first project in this country to provide wheelchair access to castle battlements which will be a major public benefit.
Client:Norfolk County Council