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Contest to find new role for The Guildhall in York
THE world’s most innovative architects are to be invited to submit plans for a major redevelopment of York’s historic Guildhall.
City of York Council decided in December it wanted to limit its use of the Guildhall and instead turn the iconic river-front building over to the “benefit of the city and its residents”.
Now council chiefs will meet on Tuesday next week to consider launching the “Open Ideas” competition, which would be run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and is expected to attract national and international high-profile architects.
The cost of running the competition would be around £35,000, but the council said it hoped that by inviting ideas from architectural practices across the world, “the city would see the benefits that could be realised from a range of high quality and innovative options”.
Coun Julie Gunnell, cabinet member for Corporate Services, said: “The Guildhall and associated spaces are a significant part of York’s cultural and civic history and we want to ensure that it can continue to play a key role in the city in the future.
“Independent assessment of the site confirms that significant development and modernisation of elements of the complex will be necessary to make the most of the buildings and riverside area for the future.”
The winning bid would have to take into account the Guildhall’s Grade II listed council chamber and its Grade I riverside committee rooms.
A recent report on the cultural and historic significance of the building said that the bombing of the Guildhall during the Second World War and subsequent rebuilding meant it was not a ‘pristine medieval’ site but acknowledged that the complex was of ‘national significance’.
According to other key findings the “do nothing option” does not exist because of the future cost to the council and the need to secure use for the Guildhall and ensure there is no long-term deterioration in condition.