Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre and Museum, Rievaulx

A beautifully sculpted gateway

Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown.
Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown. Credit: Giles Rocholl

Simpson & Brown for English Heritage

Contract value: £1.2m

GIA: 469m²

Rievaulx Abbey now has a beautifully sculpted gateway in the form of a new visitor centre.  The building conveys a sense of rhythm, order and simplicity of structure and the detailing of the interior is exquisite. 

A series of arches frames and guides visitors as they move towards the ruins of the 12th century abbey, while simple glazed gable ends minimise the physical interruptions between the visitor and the panorama of the ruins.

  • Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown.
    Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown. Credit: Giles Rocholl
  • Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown.
    Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown. Credit: Giles Rocholl
  • Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown.
    Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown. Credit: Giles Rocholl
  • Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown.
    Rievaulx Abbey visitor centre and museum, Rievaulx, by Simpson and Brown. Credit: Giles Rocholl
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The design of the modern ‘Gothic’ timber structure clearly draws its inspiration from the columns and arches of the abbey – a simple but effective device that contextualises the project. This sensibility extends to the incorporation of the existing structure and the small museum building beyond.

The detailed complexity of the project belies its modest scale; simplicity of form and its desire to be subservient to the main abbey remain its strengths.


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