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Robert Loader-led team wins York Guildhall contest

A team led by ex-Dixon Jones architect Robert Loader has scooped the RIBA-organised ideas competition for the future of the city’s Guildhall and riverside complex

Loader, who collaborated with James Decent and Joseph Little, was chosen as the ‘unanimous winner’ ahead of four other relatively unknown shortlisted practices.

Finalists Jak Studio from London and Nicholas Mills Architect of Edinburgh shared second place taking home £2,500 each. London’s Architecture & Urbanism Studio and a joint venture between Cumbria’s Sack and Reicher, ESC-studio, Collingridge and Smith Architects were named runners-up and both teams pocketed £1,000.

Jury panel chair Keith Williams said: ‘The winning scheme addresses most clearly of all those shortlisted the aspirations of the city of York – in offering scope for the creation of jobs and the growth of the local economy; in promising an attractive public space providing a new connection between river and city; in its sustainability; finally, in its marriage of new and old, combining new design with respect for the historic context.’

The contest was backed by York Council, York Boats and York Civic Trust.

Rob Loader said: ‘The study area for the competition contains a rich architectural history and a variety of spatial qualities, and [our] winning proposals create an accessible and attractive public riverside. 

‘We look forward to working with the City of York, investors and the community to contribute to the regeneration of York’s principal mediaeval arrival point at St Leonard’s Landing, enhancing the historic network of pedestrian snickelways and creating new activities in this highly visible and significant location.’

Intriguingly the scheme by Jak Studio was the clear winner in the online AJ Poll, receiving 44 per cent of the vote. Robert Loader’s proposal only came fourth - attracting just five per cent of the totalled polled.

Previous story (AJ 20.11.2012)

Emerging names make up York Guildhall finalists

Five relatively unknown practices have been shortlisted RIBA-organised ideas competition for the future of the city’s Guildhall and riverside complex

Chosen from just 36 entries, the finalists in the York Council-backed contest include Metropolitan Workshop-offshoot AU Studio, a team led by ex-Dixon Jones architect Robert Loader and London-based Jak Studio.

The shortlist is completed by Edinburgh’s Nicholas Mills Architect and a joint venture between Cumbria’s Sack and Reicher, ESC-studio, Collingridge and Smith Architects.

The design submissions which will go on anonymous display in the Marriott Room at York Explore Library, Museum Street from Sunday 25 November to Tuesday 27 November.

The shortlist in full

  • Architecture & Urbanism Studio (AU Studio), London
  • Jak Studio, London
  • Robert Loader Architect, London
  • Nicholas Mills Architect, Edinburgh
  • SEC JV (Sack and Reicher, ESC-studio, Collingridge and Smith Architects), Cumbria

Judging panel chair Keith Williams, said: ‘The competition elicited an excellent response from the profession. 36 submissions may not seem a high number but this was a particularly difficult task and the quality of the schemes received was for the most part exemplary. For the judges, arriving at the final cut was a far from easy task.

‘The five shortlisted schemes encompass a very diverse and intelligent set of design responses, each of which put across very clear strategies as to how this this extraordinary series of buildings and spaces could be transformed.’

The teams will present their designs to the judging panel at a final interview on 4 December 2012.

The winner will take home a £5,000 cash prize. The runners-up will share £7,000.

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