Cupola House will rise from ashes – architects

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ARCHITECTS have pledged the fire ravaged Cuploa House will re-emerge like the phoenix from the ashes.

They estimate the 17th Century Bury St Edmunds building, which was heavily damaged by a blaze in June, could take up to two years to restore to its former glory as part of a ‘scholarly reconstruction’.

Old photographs and drawings of the home of the Strada restaurant, in the Traverse, are now needed to help with the rebuild.

The future and current status of the site was discussed at a meeting in the Athenaeum last Thursday with councillors, affected businesses, fire officials and consultants.

Chris Betts, a partner at Purcell Architects, in Colchester, which is handling the rebuild, said: “It’s very much a phoenix arising. We’re looking at a scholarly reconstruction. As a landmark the important thing is to get that building back as closely to what it looked like prior to the fire.”

After receiving archive material such as drawings, photographs and background information from the public, he is looking for more materials fully showcasing the features of the building including the iconic cupola structure.

Mr Betts added: “It’s that level of detail - even if it was an old postcard - we’re very receptive to any information that comes through.”

Meanwhile, efforts will be made to promote and increase access to the Traverse after traders at the meeting said they had suffered a 30 to 50 per cent loss in sales - largerly as a result of the scaffolding which is deterring shoppers.

They asked whether the supporting frame could be structured in a different way.

After the meeting, David Clarke, project engineer for consultants Richard Jackson Ltd, said: “The mass is pretty well fixed. We will look if there’s anyway we can reconfigure it.”

Calls were also made for better signage to promote the Traverse. Sandra Pell, corporate director for the economy and environment at St Edmundsbury Borough Counci, said the scaffolding could display advertising.

Anyone with pictures and drawings, email the council’s conservation officer christine.leveson@stedsbc.gov.uk