As many architects know, projects can fall by the wayside for a multitude of reasons, never to be seen again. This is a great shame- a huge amount of work often goes into unrealised projects, and they can be a rich resoure for lessons learnt and creative solutions- benefitting future projects. OMA, (or rather AMO) specifically refer to this, and Haworth Tomkins have their very own website Dumpster!
Recently two colleagues and I entered the call for ideas for York’s Guildhall. The proposal wasn’t shortlisted, but this blog seems like a good forum to share one that got away.
Re-Imagining York’s Guildhall: An assembly of ideas
A cradle of commerce and culture
A place of coming together
York is a city that nurtures its industries and workers, as is evident from the history of the Guildhall, through to the legacy of the Rowntrees. The project is the next step within that rich tradition, connecting the city with the river and York’s citizens with its industry.
The proposals will bring together small scale creative industries within a range of accommodation that nurtures growing business. A high quality working environment, set within the historic fabric, will be complimented by a rolling programme of arts and events within new public spaces.
A collage city
A rich patchwork of urban elements
The Guildhall site is a chronological and cultural palimpsest- a patchwork of stories and storeys. By carefully “editing” those buildings that surround it, the Guildhall complex will be revealed ensuring it is better framed by less significant neighbours.
Public routes across the site provide real opportunities to connect every day parts of York with the city’s historic fabric. The connections would be incidental in their nature, recalling the snickelways that crisscross the city. They would be punctuated by landscaped spaces that frame historic buildings, archaeology, and the river. As a series of “outside rooms” these spaces would provide surprising and delightful counterpoints to the new snickelways. They would refer to the civility of the Guildhall rooms, and form a distinctly urban connection between the river and the city.
We propose a new development at the north of the site which reads as an ensemble of smaller buildings of multiple scales, responding to the varying characteristics of the site. These new buildings and spaces will engage with the rich language of surfaces within York, from fine masonry, to textured brick, to rooms which continue the tradition of timber lined, finely crafted interiors.
A beacon of sustainable development
Longevity and flexibility
Our proposals focus on producing a network of high quality, well connected spaces (both inside and out), within a beautiful, well built and long lasting architectural proposal. New rooms will be designed to embrace modification and adaptation in anticipation of rapid change in modern day business. Our proposals aspire to the long life, loose fit architecture that has served the Guildhall so well over the last five centuries.
The proposal is to create a variety of indoor and out door spaces that compliment the existing historic fabric of the Guildhall. Inhabited by a mix of small enterprises, the building acts as a business hub where resources and ideas can be shared.
Public routes and spaces provide opportunities for commerce, and a new cafe, facing Lendal Bridge acts as a social hub inviting public interaction.