St Paul’s Cathedral

Buckland were approached by The Morton Partnership to provide specialist timber engineering.

The project initially was to provide a specialist structural timber design for a new equal access portico structure at the North entrance of St Paul’s Cathedral. The purpose of the design was to provide a glulam framework upon which a fine timber cladding would be wrapped to create a memorial for those lost during the covid pandemic.

The portico not only acts as an entrance in and out of the Cathedral at the North entrance, but the inside of the structure also houses a digital book of remembrance called ‘Remember Me’ commemorating those who died as a result of Covid-19 in the UK.

The addition of the framework and cladding in the iconic building not only provides a unique memorial, but the entrance way also has the added benefit of greatly improving the energy efficiency of the building, as it prevents loss of air from the main building, ensuring the heat remains inside!

This has several benefits to the Cathedral as not only is it a vast space which is tricky to keep heated – if the north entrance was used previously, the fluctuation in temperature would also have a detrimental effect on the organs, meaning 9,150 pipes would need retuning every time!

Due to the tight timescales and extremely low tolerances required for the parts of the frame, we created a jigsaw template for setting out the columns* and also for manufacturing the curved timbers. This meant when it came to construction on site, there would be a guide in place to put the structure in the exact position and ensure the timber cladding fit perfectly without any clashes.

The timber used was spruce glulam, with no finish required as it is now not visible on the outside, the external cladding which you would see today should you visit was added by Neil Burke Joinery to create the final effect.


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buckland timber st pauls cathedral covid memorial

Jigsaw template being used to set out columns on site 

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Midway through construction of the glulam frame 

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Lifting the final glulam beam into position with a material lift.