LDA Design, architects ADP Architecture and O’Donnell + Tuomey and AKTII engineers have won an international design competition for a new flagship student centre for the University of York.
The winning design beat a shortlist including Herzog & de Meuron, Hawkins Brown, Adjaye Associates and Danish architect, Dorte Mandrup.
The team’s distinctive beehive-like centre will be at the heart of campus life for York’s students with space for student unions and services, dining, exhibitions, and study. It will create an exciting gateway between city and campus.
The proposed building sits within an inviting, natural landscape designed to transform the student experience with lively social spaces and an activated ground level connecting it to the wider campus and making moving around an easy pleasure. Inside, spaces will be light filled with open views and a south-facing winter garden. A walled rooftop orchard garden will draw people up through the elegantly tapered building.
LDA’s landscape design was inspired by the 18th century gardens of Heslington Hall, a Grade II* listed manor house which is now part of the University of York’s estate and home to ten colleges.
As Mark Graham, a director at LDA Design and Manchester studio lead, explains: “We want to re-stitch this historic landscape to create something more cohesive, delivering a welcoming, green heart to the campus. We also wanted to make a really strong connection between the built and the natural environments, letting nature in wherever we can.
“The studio is buzzing after this win, and we are really looking forward to working with the University and its students and the design team to shape something really special.”
The use of natural or recycled materials including reconstituted stone and recycled steel and renewable energy will set a benchmark in carbon negative design for other university developments. Technology will be intuitive and integral, with the aim that the digital experience matches the physical.