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Creative Centre, York St John University, York

Words:
RIBA Regional Jury

Tate+Co's building includes two performance spaces and brings together creative arts learning, research and practice. It has won RIBA Yorkshire's Client of the Year and Building of the Year awards

Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow

Building of the Year, sponsored by EH Smith
Client of the Year

Creative Centre, York St John University, York
Tate+Co for York St John University
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 3,014m2

The Creative Centre is a central pillar of York St John University’s ambitious growth plans. It brings together a diverse student population and combines creative arts learning, research, and practice in one building for the first time. An ingenious and responsible response to an otherwise unglamorous site, it helps to create a sense of enclosure for an emerging campus masterplan.

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 glazed atrium elevation frames views of York Minster. 

  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
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The building feels of its place, distinct, and a bespoke response to the client’s competition brief. There is a clear and legible building diagram; the atrium connects the two expressed performance spaces; and the rear wing contains teaching and technical studio spaces. The two performance volumes have black timber cladding which runs from outside to inside. The playful detailing of the material finishes makes the building feel relaxed and joyful.

The jury were impressed by the scheme’s evident commitment to the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge. In terms of whole-life carbon, the building is 21 per cent lower than the business-as-usual model. 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.

The building uses low embodied carbon materials, such as glued laminated timber (glulam) and cross-laminated timber (CLT), while Passivhaus principles have been implemented to achieve BREEAM Excellent. Eco-credentials were achieved by using triple-glazing, making the building airtight, providing simple operation systems such as openable windows, and a clever mixed-mode ventilation system.

  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
  • Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
    Creative Centre. Hufton + Crow
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There is an evident hierarchical control of the budget. Teaching spaces and studios are practical and functional, while social/shared common spaces benefit from greater material attention with natural materials providing a robust and integral finish. 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.

Credits

Client York St. John University
Contractor Kier Construction | North & Scotland
Structural engineer Atelier One
Environmental / M&E engineer Atelier Ten
Lighting design Atelier ten
Quantity surveyor / Cost Consultant RLF/MGAC
Project management RLF/MGAC
Acoustic engineer Sound Space Vision
Access consultant Sensory Trust
Landscape architect Colour
Theatre consultant Sound Space Vision
BREEAM consultant Atelier Ten
Planning consultant McKenzie Town Planning

See the rest of the RIBA Yorkshire winners here. And all the RIBA Regional Awards here.

If you want to understand the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2023 sponsored by GaggenauEH Smith and Autodesk 

 

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