Client: York City Council
Category: Public, Competitions
Landscape Design: Jeremy Rye Studio
The new Guildhall complex takes its inspiration from the medieval friaries that once occupied the site. These were more than simply sites of worship: the buildings would have provided everything the friars required to live and work.
The new complex provides a unique environment capable of sustaining creative industries old and new; with studios, workshops, offices, performance and exhibition spaces. The original council offices have been transformed into a modern interpretation of the Pall Mall clubs in London. They are a place to meet, network, relax or exercise and even stay the night when a deadline’s tight.
The form of the building responds primarily to the need to improve the connections between the river and the city. The whole roofscape becomes an undulating precinct linking the East Lodge Garden to the Guildhall’s main door and the riverfront walkway. It is an area to explore and find new routes through – much like the rest of York with its walls and alleyways – and it will give the explorer a new appreciation of the history of this area.
The new buildings are constructed according to Passivhaus low-energy principles, employing super-insulation, triple-glazing, air-tight construction and heat-recovery ventilation systems to ensure heat losses are minimal.
A deep retrofit of the existing Grade II listed buildings improves their energy-efficiency. Thin panels of vacuum insulation are installed internally to improve U-Values without affecting the internal spaces and finishes, roofs will be thoroughly insulated and draught proofed, and existing windows encapsulated in new sealed glazing units.
The garden is a planted space with four seating areas representing the four original guilds, the Carpenters, the Masons, the Tile-thatchers, and the Plasterers, creating a link between past and present. The planting and the surfacing reflects the elements of each of these guilds within a strong structure.
With the Guildhall moving towards a new era with modern industries at the core of the new development this reflects where they have come from held within a modern design.