PORTICO is an EU-funded partnership in cooperation with the Initiatief Domplein Foundation. The practice undertook a Feasibility Study and Masterplan to show how a scheme improving physical and intellectual access to the city can be implemented along Chester’s City Walls, a Scheduled Monument with individually listed towers.

Donald Insall Associates led works to repair and reuse the towers and structures along the City Walls, using lightweight materials, to improve interpretation and access for visitors. The elegant and modern designs of the new additions provide enhanced facilities such as assembly space for groups and guided tours, and will improve the setting and interpretation of the towers.

The Roodee Interpretation Hub (known locally as ‘The Wing’) enables visitors to take a trip through 2,000 years of Chester’s history, thanks to digital binoculars sited under The Wing’s canopy. The binoculars use computer-generated images and audio to recreate views of the Roodee as it changed throughout history, from its early days as a Roman port to its current use as a racecourse.


The EU funded Portico Project to repair and restore Chester’s medieval city walls is an excellent example of how brave modern additions of very high design quality can be successfully added to precious historic structures, significantly enhancing the heritage experience for visitors. The cumulative impact has been immense, bringing the city walls’ principal features back to life through structural restoration and improved access. A new Friends of Chester Walls group, which recruits volunteer guides, shows that good design can also lead to greater civic engagement.

Civic Voice Awards 2015
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