The facility could open in September 2025. Credit: planning documents

University of York gets ball rolling on student centre

Plans have been lodged for the £35m facility, while the institution is also seeking to open a school of architecture at its campus.

With a focus on sustainable and societally-informed design, the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment is to open in September 2025 – a founding professor and department head is now being sought.

Meanwhile, plans have now been lodged with and validated by York City Council for the student centre, covering a five-storey new-build scheme with associated landscaping, car and cycle parking and access including works to the library footbridge and grade two-listed boxed ramp access structure.

The scheme is to be built south of University Road at Campus West.

Planning consultant O’Neill Associates is advising the university, while design firms ADP Architecture and O’Donnell + Tuomey are both contributing on design.

Plans are now filed. Credit: planning documents

The professional team also includes landscape architect LDA, heritage advisor Montagu Evans, transport planner TPS, ecologist Smeeden Foreman, Max Fordham and AKT II.

The building will include event and flexible spaces, collaborative study areas, studios for student radio and TV, as well as a new home for both the university’s student unions and frontline student support services. There will also be places to eat and drink and a rooftop garden.

It is hoped that building work will begin in the spring of 2024, with students able to access, and use, the new facilities in the academic year 2025/26.

The building will be built largely from natural materials and renewable sources, including reconstituted stone with plans for solar panels, rooflights and solar controlled glazing. The centre will also reach high sustainability standards including ‘net zero carbon’ accredited by the UK Green Building Council.

Approval has already been granted for the demolition of some existing vacant buildings to make way for the new centre and this work will start later in the spring.

Tracy Lightfoot, pro-vice-chancellor for teaching, learning and students, said: “This is an important milestone in this project. In the last year we have spent a lot of time engaging and listening to our students to ensure that the plans truly reflect what they want, and need, from a building like this.”

Helen O’Curry, director at ADP Architecture, said: “We are very proud to be working alongside the University of York and partnering with O’Donnell + Tuomey to design and deliver this exciting project.

“The Student Centre is a key strategic intervention into the wonderful York campus landscape. Located between iconic structures on the campus, the centre creates a visible and welcoming gateway to the university, providing significant public realm and dedicated student facilities.”

The planning application number on York City Council’s planning portal is 23/00506/FULM.

O’Donnell + Tuomey is the design-lead architect. Credit: planning documents

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