We are delighted to have been commissioned by the National Trust to undertake feasibility studies for potential alterations to various parts of the Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Estate in North Yorkshire. We were appointed as part of a larger design team including Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Feilden Fowles and the Landscape Agency. Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal is one of the finest and most important historic attractions in the UK combining the colossal ruins of the 12thcentury Cistercian Abbey and the sublime 18th century landscape gardens. The site contains numerous other buildings and structures that are important in their own right such as the Grade I Listed Fountains Hall and the magnificent St Mary’s Church by William Burges.
In recognition of the collective importance of Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, it gained World Heritage Site status in 1986 as it fulfils the criteria of ‘being a masterpiece of human creative genius, and an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history.’
Within this context, our role was to work closely with the design team to develop sensitive options for the future use of Fountains Hall that could support its conservation, increase awareness and interpretation and add value to the overall Estate. In parallel we were asked to consider the impact of introducing a new route from the main visitor centre to the Studley Royal entrance helping visitors to experience the water gardens and Abbey in the sequence intended when the gardens were originally created.