Case study

Durham Cathedral Library

Durham Cathedral Library - Guthrie Douglas
Durham Cathedral Library - Guthrie Douglas
Durham Cathedral Library - Guthrie Douglas
Durham Cathedral Library - Guthrie Douglas



Building type

Museums and Leisure

Delivery Partner





Durham, UK

About the Durham Cathedral Library

Sensitively integrated shading for an 11th century building

Founded in AD 1093, the cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of Norman architecture, and consequently has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the nearby Durham Castle. Its library is part of the cathedral building complex and contains manuscripts dating back to the 6th century.

Project requirements included careful protection of the library contents, whilst allowing sufficient daylight to enter the space for library users, and being sympathetic to the building’s original architecture. Lastly, the brief stipulated shading which could be deployed with little noise, to avoid negatively impacting on the ambience of the library.

The TESSTM 120 was the chosen system for shading this historic space and its unique library collection. Designed with retrofit in mind, the aluminium frame retains the tension force of the blind, and the weight of the system is distributed via multiple fixing points. Our single barrel mechanism keeps the fabric constantly under tension and produces a smooth, quiet travel.

Levolux and Guthrie Douglas engineers collaborated from the design stage, adapting the system with a bespoke arched hem bar to match the Gothic window arches. Each of the 18 windows were fitted with a 4m bottom-up blind. A technical screen fabric was chosen with a precise openness factor and reflectance, to manage light flow in a way that guarantees visual comfort as well as protecting the collection from sun damage. Our technical team remained on hand to support with the installation to ensure the systems were implemented with complete precision.

The end result is a bespoke shading solution which provides protection and optimum user comfort, whilst complimenting the overall atmosphere.

Read about a museum project which required both a blackout and a translucent fabric to be applied to each window.

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