A NEW riverside piazza could be created in York city centre, after the winner of an architecture competition was unveiled.

An area of open space with steps leading down to the edge of the Ouse is the focal point of the design by London-based Rob Loader Architects.

It was chosen from five shortlisted entries in a competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects in conjunction with City of York Council, to look at ways of regenerating the area around Guildhall once the council moves to its new HQ next year.

The panel, chaired by RIBA adviser Keith Williams, decided the concept best responded to the city’s aspirations in offering scope for the creation of jobs and the growth of the local economy.

“A key element of the design is the attractive public space and its marriage between the riverside and the Guildhall, combining historic and modern architecture,” said a spokeswoman.

Members of the public who gave their views on the shortlist liked the way the design opened up the riverside but also respected the historic Guildhall.

Coun Julie Gunnell, cabinet Member for corporate services, said architects from as far away as Russia, Malaysia and Vietnam submittd designs, but the winning one was the favourite.

“This has been really useful in exploring potential future designs for the site,” she said. “The next steps will be to develop deliverable options for the use of the Guildhall and explore how we can use the creative outcomes of the competition to inform future plans for this iconic site. This work will proceed in the new year.”

Mr Williams said the jury panel’s choice had been unanimous, and came after a long and carefully deliberated, day-long session which included detailed presentation and discussion with the individual architects of each proposal.

Rob Loader Architects, which wins £5,000, said the winning proposals by James Decent, Joseph Little and Robert Loader would create an “accessible and attractive public riverside.”

Brian Clarke, managing director of Yorkboat, which sponsored the contest, said: “This competition was a great way to get new ideas particularly for this important part of the city.”