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24 September 2014

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How We Built Britain

You are in: Norfolk > How We Built Britain > Take a tour of Norwich's modern architecture

St Peter Mancroft Church viewed through The Forum.

St Peter Mancroft viewed from The Forum

Take a tour of Norwich's modern architecture

Take an in-depth look at some of the places you normally just walk past without a second glance in our slideshow tour of some of the city's newest buildings and developments.

Norwich's skyline is dominated by the Norman castle and churches, but over the past few years new developments have started to rival the reputation of the city's best-known landmarks.

The Forum, Norwich Market, Norwich Cathedral refectory and office buildings in St James' Court are all recent additions or redevelopments which have been designed to fit in with the city's historical surroundings.

Architect Jeremy O'Rourke

Architect Jeremy O'Rourke leads the tour

We joined architects Jeremy O'Rourke, Rupert Kitchen and assistant Richard Bassett, from Norwich-based firm LSI Architects, on a walking tour of the city's modern highlights.

The firm was responsible for the offices in St James' Court, next to Whitefriars Bridge, and worked on refurbishing Norwich Market, while Michael Hopkins' practice designed the award-winning cathedral refectory and The Forum.

Surprising discoveries

Norwich was once only second in importance to London which resulted in a few historical surprises for architects.

The St James' Court buildings were the first purpose-built offices to be constructed in the heart of Norwich for more than 10 years.

Despite lengthy planning it wasn't until building work began that the ruins of a friary were discovered on the exact spot of Carmelite House, meaning the foundations had to be redesigned to fit around them.

Rupert Kitchen talks about his work on the market.

Rupert Kitchen talks about the market

Archaeologists surveying Norwich Market before the £4.2m update got under way found the remnants of the 13th century Market Cross which once towered 60ft into the sky.

The relic's footings are now marked by red diagonal lines on the market floor.

The past and present

Respecting the past while working on new developments is a sensitive balance which architects have to work hard to achieve.

Mills And Reeves solicitors' home in St James' Court was achieved by wrapping a new structure around part of a friary's crypt.

Norwich Cathedral's refectory was designed to complement its ancient stone surroundings with glass and wood.

Expanses of glass also dominate The Forum to help reflect the image of St Peter Mancroft Church which stands to the front.

The outside casing of the public building was also designed to embrace its setting, with special bricks made to mirror those of next door's City Hall.

Take an in-depth look at these buildings and find out more about the architectural considerations in our slideshow by using the link at the top of this page.

last updated: 23/08/07

You are in: Norfolk > How We Built Britain > Take a tour of Norwich's modern architecture

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