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Riverside makeover planned for land around York’s Guildhall
An international competition is to be held to discover ideas on how to make the most of of York’s Guildhall and riverside land when City of York Council moves out
AN INTERNATIONAL competition was launched today for ideas on how to make the most of York’s Guildhall and riverside land when City of York Council moves out.
City leaders are looking for innovative design proposals demonstrating potential future uses for the historic riverside complex and nearby boatyard.
Ideas include mooring Yorkboat craft on pontoons and creating a public open space on riverside land near Lendal Bridge, with a new walkway created to link Lendal Bridge with the Guildhall or even the Cityscreen cinema.
A timber building currently used for storage might also be replaced by a contemporary, attractive building which would complement the Guildhall, said David Warburton, head of Design Conservation and Sustainable Development at City of York Council.
The contest, run by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and sponsored by York Civic Trust and Yorkboat, is offering a first prize of £5,000 and another £7,000 in total for second, third, fourth and fifth prizes.
A judging panel appointed to choose the winner will include award-winning and nationally renowned architect Keith Williams, a RIBA adviser who will chair the jury panel, Coun Julie Gunnell, cabinet member for corporate services and Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability.
Darren Richardson, York’s newly appointed director of City and environmental services, and Mr Warburton will also be on the panel.
Coun Gunnell said the Guildhall and associated spaces were a significant part of York’s cultural and civic history, and the authority wanted to ensure it could 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,” she said.
Coun Merrett said he 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 for the Guildhall and adjacent riverside towards Lendal Bridge.
Mr Williams said it was an ideas competition, but added: “Nevertheless, it represents an intriguing and testing challenge to architects to balance successfully the sensitive nature of York’s historic riverside with inspirational proposals that will show how this extraordinarily rich complex of buildings and spaces may be transformed.”
Some of the area where an iconic public building might be created is currently occupied by wooden storage huts.
Brian Clarke, managing director of Yorkboat, said it was great to get new ideas for this important part of the city. “This competition is a great idea and I am sure that it will generate some blue sky thinking, Yorkboat is delighted to be both a sponsor and a partner in this initiative.”
The competition submission deadline is Tuesday November 6 and the results will be announced early December.
For more details or to enter, go to architecture.com/competitions
Net cast wide for riverside ideas
A high-profile international search has begun for ideas on how to make the best use of York’s medieval Guildhall and the riverbank behind.
The city council launched its “open ideas” competition – which will be managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects – today.
Sponsored by York Civic Trust and Yorkboat – which operates a boatyard from the banks of the Ouse just upstream of the Guildhall – the competition is offering cash prizes to the architects or design teams who come up with the best ideas.
Entries will be judged by a panel which will be chaired by award-winning architect Keith Williams and will include senior York councillors and council staff. The brief has deliberately not been made too restrictive – the aim, says Yorkboat MD Brian Clarke, is to generate some “blue sky thinking”.
But The Press understands the range of ideas that might be considered include a new riverside walkway along the banks of the Ouse between the Guildhall and Lendal Bridge; mooring Yorkboat craft on pontoons and turning what is now the boatyard into public open space; and possibly replacing wooden sheds with a new building next to the Guildhall itself.
Whatever the ideas architects eventually come up with, we welcome the approach being taken by the council and its partners.
There has been talk of making better use of York’s riverside for decades. A successful scheme could transform the heart of York, and make this city even more exciting, vibrant and beautiful.
The city council’s impending move from the Guildhall into its new West Offices HQ offers the perfect opportunity for something new.
This is, of course, a hugely sensitive site. Any final scheme will have to recognise that. But fresh ideas are just what are needed at this stage.