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News article

York St John Creative Centre scoops top honours at the RIBA Yorkshire Awards 2023

Published: 30 May 2023

  •   Featured
  •   Awards
  •    Campus & Estates
The interior of a large atrium with high ceilings featuring lots of windows and wooden panelling

The York St John Creative Centre has been named Building of the Year at the RIBA Yorkshire Awards 2023. The University was also named Client of the Year, with judges impressed with the Centre’s vision, purpose and sustainable design.

Designed by leading environmental architects Tate + Co, the Creative Centre is a striking and sustainably built building that dominates the northern side of our Lord Mayor’s Walk campus. It brings together creative arts learning, research, and practice in one building for the first time, benefitting our students and the wider community.

The RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Awards champion and celebrate the best architecture in the UK and around the world. Successful projects reflect changes and innovations in architecture, but judges also look for a commitment to designing and developing buildings and spaces for the improvement and enhancement of people’s lives.

A RIBA Regional Award is given to a UK building for its regional importance as a piece of architecture. The regional wins mean that the Creative Centre will now be in the running for the RIBA National Awards.

Judges comments included:

“The building really comes to life as you step inside and are immersed in a three-storey animated and active atrium. This is the building’s social hub, bringing its student and community population together for informal performances and events.”

“The proportion and scale of the space provide a feeling of intimacy. The timber structure and natural timber finishes inside provide warmth and the opportunity for the building to age gracefully. The playful detailing of the material finishes makes the building feel relaxed and joyful.”

“Accessibility and inclusivity have been considered admirably. Mobility-impaired visitors are provided with full and equal access, including direct access to the stage and also the gantry technical levels above the auditorium. This is a delightful, welcoming, friendly, and fun building.”

The jury were also impressed by the scheme’s evident commitment to sustainability:  

“The Creative Centre is an elegant example of sustainable architecture demonstrating its low embodied and operational carbon footprint, with commendable environmental performance and renewable energy technologies as well as significant contribution to biodiversity and student communities.

Nick Coakley, Director of Estates Management at York St John University said: “We’re very proud of the impact the building has had on the campus, on the nature of activities which take place within, and the statement it makes about the University.  The RIBA awards are a great addition to the range of other awards and nominations that the building has received already.

“It was also great to receive the Client of the Year award to recognise the close and important relationship we had as part of the design team throughout.

“We’re currently building on this success with our next project which will apply and extend the same vision and philosophy to our Design Centre and surrounding landscaping to complete the core of the Lord Mayor’s Walk campus.”

Andrew  Baker-Falkner from Tate + Co said: “We are delighted to have won a RIBA Yorkshire Regional Award and the RIBA Yorkshire Building of the Year, especially amongst such a strong shortlist.  

Our fantastic client, York St John University, also scooped RIBA Yorkshire Client of the Year, a very well-deserved award. The University had an ambitious vision to deliver a fantastic and sustainable learning facility and it’s great that their commitment and investment in the project has been recognised.”

York St John University and Tate + Co would also like to thank the following partners who helped to deliver the multi award winning building:

  • Main Contractor – Kier
  • MGAC – QS and PM
  • Atelier Ten – MEP, Sustainability, BREEAM and Lighting Design
  • Atelier One – Structural and Civil Engineering
  • Sound Space Vision – Acoustician and Theatre Consultants
  • Colour – Landscape Architects
  • Sensory Trust – Access Consultants
  • Derek McKenzie Planning – Planning Consultants
  • Timber Cladding Sub-Contractors – BCL Timber
  • Glulam Sub-Contractor – Glulam Solutions

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Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499