May 17, 2022

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Tate+Co completes York St John University’s Creative Centre

Tate+Co (formerly Tate Harmer) has completed the Creative Centre for York St John University, providing 3,000m2 of flexible learning space including an auditorium and ‘collaborative atrium’.

The building, modelled on New York City’s Lincoln Centre, is wrapped in prefabricated timber, referencing the tall, thin niches adorning nearby York Minster – which is carefully framed by views from the atrium, recital hall and critical listening room.

The atrium, at the heart of the site, is formed of a timber-framed structure with a glass and timber glulam roof. It provides 550m2 of group learning and breakout space, acting as a theatre foyer and a space for exhibitions and unprogrammed teaching. A feature stair offers seating for lectures and performances.

The building also provides specialist spaces for performance, creative writing and media production.

The centre mainly uses low embodied carbon materials as part of a fabric-first approach. Passivhaus principles have been used to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating. Working closely with environmental design consultant Atelier Ten, the building uses triple-glazing, making the building airtight and providing simple operation systems.

A series of connected routes link the centre to the adjacent design centre, providing an integrated, pedestrianised street for the university.Tate+Co beat a number of big names including Feilden Clegg Bradley, BDP, Nicholas Hare Architects and AHR to win the commission  in 2018.

Architect’s view

The Creative Centre at York St John University demonstrates that you can provide students with state-of-the-art facilities without sacrificing environmental sustainability. It was important to plug these aspirations into the design from the outset and this is the reason the university chose our practice. It recognised that the only future for the campus is one that puts the needs of students first, while simultaneously supporting greater sustainable initiatives.
Jerry Tate, director, Tate+Co


Client’s view

What we set out to achieve was a striking and sustainable building to inspire learning at the heart of our Lord Mayor’s Walk campus, and I would like to thank our partners Kier and Tate+Co for delivering just that. Our new Creative Centre demonstrates our commitment to our students, the wider community and the creative industries in the region. We look forward to welcoming the public to experience the amazing space for themselves at our official launch events.
Rob Hickey, chief operating officer, York St John University


Engineer’s view

At Atelier Ten, we always enjoy developing environmental strategies for education settings and are proud we got the opportunity to provide MEP design and environmental consultancy for this landmark building for York St John University. With low-carbon ambitions in mind, we tailored the MEP design to meet the differing requirements of the unique mixed-use space while ensuring it was sensitive to the overall design and aesthetic. We hope this impressive and flexible building will be a valued and lasting teaching facility for the university and look forward to seeing the enjoyment of the students who use it.
David McAllister, associate director, Atelier Ten

Project data

Start on site date March 2020
Completion date December 2021
Contract value £12 million
Gross internal floor area 3,014m²
Cost per m² £3,835
Client York St John University
Architect Tate+Co
Quantity surveyor Robinson Low Francis
Project manager Robinson Low Francis
M&E engineer Atelier Ten
BREEAM Atelier Ten
Lighting designer Atelier Ten
Structural engineer Atelier One
Acoustic and theatre consultant Sound Space Vision
Access consultant Sensory Trust
Landscape architect Colour
Planning consultant McKenzie Town Planning
Main contractor Kier
Timber cladding subcontractor BCL Timber
Glulam and CLT subcontractor Glulam Solutions

Environmental performance data

Embodied carbon 200 kgCO2/m²
Energy consumption 38 kWh/m²/yr
On-site energy generation approx. 20,000 kWh per year