Go-ahead for York St John’s major new arts venue, auditorium and teaching space

External view of the new Creative Centre, designed by Tate Harmer.

York St John University is welcoming news that plans have been unanimously approved for a new arts, design and performance centre on campus in York City Centre.

The design for the Creative Centre has been developed by one of the UK’s leading sustainable architects, with final plans refined following a public consultation process which saw one letter of objection. Design principles reflect the power of natural environments to enhance learning and form a student community around collaborative working.

Rob Hickey, Chief Operating Officer at York St John University said: “Building a new Creative Centre at York St John University demonstrates our commitment to investing in our campus, the city and the student experience here in York. In addition to offering space for community use, it will provide innovative teaching space for specialist subjects like computer science and media production that are so important for our region’s economy.”

By 2020, York St John expects to be home to 8,000 students, with a rise in demand for courses in creative subjects. 2,600 sqm of flexible teaching spaces are at the heart of the new designs of the scheme, which means the building can adapt to students’ needs and the future evolution of the University’s curriculum.

Floors are column-free to allow for a greater variety of potential configurations, including wide open spaces or smaller divisions. A 210-seat auditorium is wrapped in pre-fabricated timber to reference the tall, thin niches that adorn the nearby Minster. It will feature seating to support a broad range of performances, including multidisciplinary and technology-driven creative collaborations.

Facing towards York Minster, a new atrium will become the heart of the site with 550 sqm of group learning and breakout space, linking the teaching areas with the auditorium and promoting collaboration between creative disciplines. A glass and timber roof will allow natural daylight to enter the building, while the atrium will act as an exhibition space, teaching space and theatre foyer to host lectures and performances.

Rory Harmer, Partner at Tate Harmer said: “We are delighted that our project with York St John University on the new creative centre has received planning permission. Our design seeks to create a healthy, innovative new building that will be more sociable and improve the quality of spaces for the campus community.”

Demolition of the existing building is scheduled for June 2019 and construction will start in November 2019. The project is due for completion in May 2021.