RIBA Competition Guildhall York [UK]
Given the rich history of York it is not our attempt to compete with any other areas in the city as a destination but rather to exhibit the importance of the Guildhall complex and its surrounding site and in doing so, reconnect the city to the river front and invigorate the complex for future use.
Our proposal acknowledges and exhibits the histories of the guildhall site in an interactive exhibition. To compliment this 'excavation' of the past we propose to exhibit the current and future aspirations of the city in an multi- use building in the form of an elevated cloister arrangement. We are not attempting a staged authenticity through the superimposition of a preconceived regionalist or contexualist approach, we are asking the site to tell us what to do, a play on the surrealist concept of the exquisite corpse 'Cadavre Exquis'.
The collective image of the group could be interpreted as a representation of the collectives identity. Our proposal has been to attempt to excavate an architectural identity for the site which respects the existing site as an agglomeration of histories and compliment it with a representation of contemporary York.
Our proposal has been to attempt to excavate an architectural identity for the site which respects the existing site as an agglomeration of histories and compliment it with a representation of contemporary York. As we attempt to graft onto the historical collage that is the Guildhall complex, we are looking to the extended site for clues. Through this technique we propose an architectural identity which is determined by the sites history and an architectural proposal which exhibit the cities aspirations.
The site sits adjacent to an important traffic artery in the city, Museum Street. Buses carrying tourists/city centre workers from the train station will stop regularly near our site affording them the appropriate access is of great importance to the success of the scheme. Due to the height differences between the Ouse River and Lendal street we have attempted to accommodate all users through the provision of a soft slope toward the site from Lendall street. We have re-connected secondary entrances to the site so as to accommodate new footfall to the waterside from the historic centre. Key entrances such as the Mansion house Carriageway passageway, the Passage and yard to the early 20th century annex and hutments, pathway under lendal Bridge have been maintained and become key entry points in the new composition.
The probable discovery of items of historical significance (ex. remains of the former friary wall/roman remains) from any construction work to this area of the site we have proposed exhibition boxes to house and display these items where they are found. These 'finds' are to be points of exhibition supplemented by landscape elements such as tables/benches/lights which will focus these areas as a congregation point. History is used in this way as a point of collection. Through animating the past in the form of an interactive exhibition we aim to make a connection with the present and encourage the future use of the site.
We see our architectural commission as a form of archaeological excavation. With the weight of historical significance bearing heavily upon this site we have attempted to anchor ourselves to the present through uncovering the past. A process of architectural excavation which will reveal the layers of history present on the site and allow for the presence of new use patterns and events. Through program and materiality we aim to depict and extoll the invigorating effect of contemporary York.
The 'inverted cloister' is to serve as a networking and exhibition space. The ground floor contains a gallery and networking space which is complimented by a double height atrium housing a cafe.
It is our aim that the presence of our proposal will act as an attractor for other leaseholders to occupy office and retail space in the area, thus reinvigorating the city centre. The proposal is to act as an exhibit for York's aspirations. Through the Journey to the gallery or one of its associated spaces you are confronted by framed glimpses of Yorks past displayed as found within the landscape or exposed within the complex itself.
The exhibition space will act as a front line for the promotion of industries within York. It will showcase the aspirations of the city and provide visitors with information regarding York and its surrounding areas. The Guildhall complex becomes relevant as an exhibition space for York, a forum for global interaction.