BDP's recommendations for new facilities to be built at Chester Cathedral to drive the city's visitor economy have been endorsed by the council.
A £7.5m project is proposed to remodel the entrance and improve the visitor centre. There will be new lighting, heating, a terrace café and a performance stage in the nave.
"The Cathedral is a fascinating and intriguing complex, making a significant contribution to the life of the city, spiritually, culturally and economically," said the Dean of Chester the Very Revd Prof Gordon McPhate.
"However, it is often said that it is hidden from full view and we want to improve its setting to allow greater appreciation and easier access to this wonderful complex."
Public realm work in St Werburgh Street will create a new square linking the city centre and leading more visitors to the gothic masterpiece, originally erected as a monastery by Hugh Lupus, first Norman Earl of Chester, in 1092.
The scheme is being led by the Cathedral together with Chester Renaissance and Cheshire West & Chester Council.
BDP's Liverpool studio is also working on plans for The Rows and the Castle area of the city centre.
A planning application to both the local authority and the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England will be submitted in the spring. Completion of the first phase is scheduled for March 2012.