Tile Protection Shelter
Cleeve Abbey, Washford
The C13th ‘Old’ Refectory tiled pavement of Cleeve Abbey is the only large scale medieval monastic pavement in Britain. The provision of a new permanent shelter looked to implement strict environmental conditions established by a 15-year monitoring project: reducing temperature fluctuations, providing ventilation to mitigate risk of biological growth, relative humidity, and condensation, and maintaining hydrological conditions. Access and construction within such a context required careful consideration: the size and weight of components and plant, construction and assembly methods occurring directly above the pavement, below ground archaeology and the adjacent Abbey, all informed the design from concept onwards.
The approach therefore established a building of complete reversibility, fabricated as far as feasible off site and designed to establish a natural protective environment for the pavement. Stone clad foundations form an above ground plinth, separated from the ruinous walls of the old refectory below. A large span oak portal frame is clad in timber louvres, providing continuous natural ventilation and protection from incident sunlight and rainfall.