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‘Holistic and thoughtful’ work scoops top architectural award for St Paul’s

The Tercentenary programme of care and repair to St Paul’s has been recognised by the country’s foremost professional body for architects.

At the annual Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards ceremony, St Paul’s scooped the English Heritage Award for Sustaining the Historic Environment, for a programme of work which included major external stonework repair and cleaning, the complete cleaning of the interior, an overhaul of the cathedral’s south churchyard, the opening up of the crypt and work to Wren’s geometric staircase.

The work, which coincided with the 300th anniversary of the building of St Paul’s, was also rewarded with a RIBA London regional prize.

The English Heritage award citation states: "Here the approach is based on painstaking research and covers the cleaning and restoration of the interior and exterior, the removal of many 20th century accretions, the opening up of the crypt and the subtle integration of accessibility requirements. This holistic and thoughtful approach to the care of an important building sets new benchmarks in the conservation of our historic fabric.” 

The ten-year programme of work cost in excess of £40,000,000 which was raised by the St Paul’s Cathedral Foundation between 2000-8 from private individuals, grant-making trusts and foundations, City business and livery companies.

The works scheme was devised by the cathedral’s former Surveyor to the Fabric, Martin Stancliffe. The main contractor on the majority of the projects was the cathedral’s own Works Department.

Martin Stancliffe said: "It is a great honour to win this special RIBA English Heritage Sustaining the Historic Environment Award. It is the highest award of its kind, and it recognises 20 years of work to which a great number of people have contributed a remarkable variety of skills; and foremost among these is the St Paul’s Works Department. It has been a huge team achievement, which it has been a privilege to lead.”

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The Royal Institute of British Architects