Cathedral restorer is a glass act
A city designer is leading a £10.5 million project to restore northern Europe's biggest gothic cathedral.
While experts decide whether remains found in a Leicester car park are those of former Duke of York, King Richard III, Harvey Gardiner provides another interesting link between the two cities.
The 48-year-old is leading the refurbishment of York Minster, where historians say Richard had actually planned to be buried.
Phase one of the Lottery-funded project, known as York Minster Revealed, is now complete – two years into the five-year restoration.
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Mr Gardiner, who is project director with design consultants Mather & Co, said: "The aim is to reveal the architectural excellence of the cathedral to a wider audience and enhance its profile as a modern visitor attraction."
The project has involved restoration work at the east front of York Minster including the great east window – one of the world's biggest medieval stained glass windows.
From next Saturday, visitors will be able to see some of the 108 stained glass window panels, conserved from the 15th century, up close.
It is thanks to a new gallery, complete with a contemporary metallic Orb feature, created by Mr Gardiner's team in the Minster's east end.
He said: "The initial east end phase of the project, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the stained glass jewels of the Great East Window, created enormous excitement among our design team.
"We wanted to design something truly dramatic, memorable and enlightening on the Minster floor and, after hours of creative thinking, we arrived at The Orb."
Visitors will be able to walk inside and see details of selected restored panels, while its metallic shell will be illuminated with moving projections of stained glass.
Over 25 years, Mr Gardiner, who grew up in Leicester but now lives in Kibworth Harcourt, has developed an international reputation for the design of major museums, visitor attractions and exhibitions.
His career has seen him work on more than 100 museums, heritage projects and national monuments across Europe and the Middle East.
As well as the York Minster scheme, Harvey is involved as project director in work at the National Horse Racing Museum, the Silverstone Motor Racing Visitor Experience and Crawley Social History Museum.
He said he had been fascinated by the discovery in August of what experts believe could be King Richard III's remains under Greyfriars car park, in New Street, Leicester.
"The University of Leicester's archeological excavations have given people glimpses into a lost medieval world and the public interest has been enormous – and that's what we are trying to achieve."
York Minster Revealed is the largest restoration and conservation project of its kind in the UK.