Silver Winner in 2024 | Public

Katharine Cary
Sir Robert McAlpine
All Finalists

Sir Robert McAlpine

The Covid Memorial - St Paul's Cathedral, London

Construction of oak portico memorial, completed in 25 weeks. 

The cost, quality and programme triangle of the construction project is typically about trade-offs, but on Kat Cary’s project all three aspects were non-negotiable. With a host of events planned for its widely publicised grand opening, this memorial project had to finish on time. The budget, entirely made up of donations from the public, was unmoveable, and ravishing quality was needed for the structure to look the part amid the stupendous beauty of the grade I-listed building. 

About the Project

Construction of oak portico memorial, completed in 25 weeks. 

The cost, quality and programme triangle of the construction project is typically about trade-offs, but on Kat Cary’s project all three aspects were non-negotiable. With a host of events planned for its widely publicised grand opening, this memorial project had to finish on time. The budget, entirely made up of donations from the public, was unmoveable, and ravishing quality was needed for the structure to look the part amid the stupendous beauty of the grade I-listed building. 

The biggest challenge was working in a building that remained fully operational throughout the project. It required careful craning of the curved pieces of the memorial’s offsite-manufactured glulam frame through the cathedral’s main doors and then fitting them together like a jigsaw on the cathedral’s chequered floor. Kat successfully managed the works around prayers every hour on the hour (those of the congregation, not hers!), and Eucharist three times a day. Her meticulous programming spared congregations the downsides of the cathedral’s famed acoustics – designed to amplify the voices of clergy and choirs, but just as effective with the clang of construction. 

And when the installation of a pair of 4.5m-high pivot doors was challenged by a distinct slope across the hand-cut tiles of the perfect-looking cathedral floor, she helped safeguard the design intent. 

Kat hit all three of the programme, quality and cost benchmarks through her own trinity of patience, ingenuity and dedication. She completed on time, on budget and to an exceptionally high standard of quality.