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30TH May 2022

ADP to design landmark new Student Centre for The University of York


30TH May 2022


Proposed Student Centre for The University of York, view from University Square. Image credit: Infinite 3D

Following an international design competition, ADP Architecture and O’Donnell + Tuomey have been appointed to develop a proposal for a new flagship 5000 sqm Student Centre building and University Square neighbourhood at the heart of The University of York.

Other shortlisted architects in the competition included Herzog & De Meuron, Hawkins Brown, Adjaye Associates and Dorte Mandrup.

The design team brings extensive insight and expertise within the higher education sector. ADP Architecture recently completed the Sir William Henry Bragg Building at The University of Leeds and has worked with over 30 universities across the UK, while O’Donnell + Tuomey has completed buildings for many Universities in Europe and the UK, including a campus for CEU Budapest and the LSE Student Centre and is currently working on the University of Liverpool’s new School of Architecture.

The winning proposal is an iconic building design, located within a striking natural landscape, set to deliver an inspiring, engaging and welcoming heart to the campus. The design proposes a light-filled beacon of student activity and student life – with roof gardens, winter gardens, lively social spaces and an active ground level connecting it to the campus.

The sculpted, tapered form of the building is designed with a distinctive “beehive” character, appropriate to its role as the hub of student life, while taking its place in the context of other York campus landmarks, including the Library, the Central Hall and the lake.

Inside, the dynamic design will offer a connected environment, with open views, and stairs and walkways passing freely through light filled voids. The singular structure features a flexible plan with interconnecting multifunctional spaces, a south-facing winter garden and a walled orchard garden on the roof.

Proposed student centre interior. Image credits: Infinite 3D

A key aspect of the design has been to create a carbon negative sustainable development, in which the technology will be intuitive and integral, to offer a digital experience to match the physical one. The proposal also includes integrated landscaped grounds, designed to create a sense of discovery between the built and the natural.

To ensure the very best student experience, the design reflects principles around sustainability, inclusion, internationalism, and collaboration, linking with city communities and students, past, present and future.

Proposed winter garden. Image credits: O’Donnell + Tuomey

“We are honoured to have been appointed by the University of York in collaboration with O’Donnell + Tuomey and LDA Design, to deliver the exciting new student centre and adjacent public realm. The new centre and surrounding landscape will be a welcoming and supportive place for students, staff, and visitors, reflecting the University’s values, and celebrating its unique character.”

Jon Roylance, ADP Higher Education Director

“We are delighted to have been selected alongside ADP Architecture and LDA Design to design this special project for the University of York. The brief asked for a welcoming front door for the University, a new space at the heart of the action, a new Student Centre at the crossroads of connection between city and campus. The architectural form, employing modern methods of construction and principles of environmental responsibility, responds to the material characteristics of the place.”

John Tuomey, O’Donnell & Tuomey Founding Director

“This building is a once in a generation opportunity for us to enhance our existing student experience with an iconic, technologically smart, student focused space for all of our students, wherever they are. ADP and O’Donnell + Tuomey have delivered stunning buildings for other organisations and have designed us a building that will not only look striking and signal to visitors that they have arrived on our campus, but will also offer our students a dedicated space to relax on campus.

Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice Chancellor of the University of York

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