Tate Harmer has won a competition to design a new arts, design and performance centre for York St. John University. Creating an aspirational focal point for the university, the design aims to provide a 200-seat auditorium and flexible teaching space that can adapt to various students’ needs and the evolution of art, design and media production courses. Shortlisted practices included Feilden Clegg Bradley, Building Design Partnership, Nicholas Hare Architects, Portacabin and AHR Architects.
Modelled on New York City’s Lincoln Centre, the new auditorium will be flanked by a large window facing onto York Minster, offering a unique portal to the performances within, and spectacular views of the cathedral outside. The new hall will support a broad range of performances, including multi-disciplinary and technology-driven creative collaborations.
With the plans still to be finalised, Tate Harmer’s proposal would deliver 3,000 sqm of flexible teaching space as well as allowing for the potential expansion of an additional 1,500 sqm.
The proposed scheme includes a collaborative atrium space that will link the teaching spaces and auditorium, creating three levels of communal area, effectively acting as a ‘mixing valve’ between creative disciplines. This communal space will connect on the western side of the building with the existing Design Centre. This will be enclosed by a cost-effective ETFE foil covering, similar to that used in the Eden Project.
The atrium will be made of a timber-framed structure with a clear ETFE enclosure to provide a covered green space for collaboration, whilst the teaching blocks will be constructed out of timber framed CLT to create large clear spans for maximum flexibility.
The auditorium will form a beacon at the centre of the campus, facing onto York Minster and creating a new civic space at the heart of the site. A new landscaped street will link all existing and proposed buildings forming an integrated, easy to navigate centre of the campus.
“We are delighted to have been chosen by York St. John University to design their new Creative Centre.” says Jerry Tate, Partner at Tate Harmer.
“Serving as a beacon for the campus, our designs reflect the ambitions of the university to significantly improve student learning and experience. We are looking forward to developing the plans further with the team.”
Rob Hickey, Executive Director of Innovation and Growth at York St John University said: “As one of the fastest growing universities in the country, we need to develop innovative teaching space for specialist subjects. We were impressed with Tate Harmer’s proposal for a vibrant, state-of-the-art creative centre that recognises the needs of future students. Their design was the stand-our winner for reflecting the ambition and optimism of York St John University, making the most of the building’s position in the centre of campus and showcasing our location in the heart of the city.”
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