York Guildhall

Constructing Excellence

The Guildhall complex is owned by City of York Council and is made up of Grade I, II* and II listed buildings built around a large 15th-century Guildhall. The refurbishment and remodelling provide a world class venue, supporting and nurturing the expansion of York’s vibrant businesses, combining events and exhibition space with state-of-the-art collaboration and co-working facilities in the heart of a historic and creative city, and securing an economically viable and sustainable future for one of its most iconic buildings.

The project has delivered a comprehensive (once in 100 years) refurbishment of one of York’s most prestigious and historically significant buildings, together with new build interventions as necessary to re-purpose the complex for its new use.

The restored complex offers a range of workspace solutions, with conferencing and event spaces including the impressive Main Hall. Workspaces suit a variety of business needs; from coworking spaces to help foster collaboration, to office spaces to support business formation and growth. In addition, meeting space is provided for community groups and social enterprise as well as being a venue for events such as the York Festival of Ideas. The council retain access to the Guildhall for civic events such as Mayor-making, and council meetings.

A café and separate restaurant unit benefits from the new south facing riverside courtyard, designed to provide flood resilience, which improves public access throughout the complex, creates more attractive circulation routes and improved links to the adjacent retail centre and independent cinema development.

The University of York, through York Science Park Ltd, a partnership between the University and City of York Council, has taken a long-term lease on the historic buildings, to create a hub for business, enterprise and events. The new space will enable the University to bring the innovation and support it offers to local business and enterprise into the heart of York, driving inclusive and sustainable growth in the city as it recovers from the pandemic.

Three Winning Facts:
  • Best practice conservation principles have been adopted, in terms of the approach to enhancing and better revealing the significance of the heritage assets, whilst incorporating modern servicing and amenity requirements. The integration of renewable and decarbonising technology, in the form of the Water Source Heat Pump, provides sustainable green energy from the adjacent River Ouse and showcases that any building can be adapted to contribute towards the sustainability agenda. This, linked with carefully considered building fabric improvements that were complementary of the listed nature of the building, has reduced both running costs and carbon in use..
  • The River Ouse was used to transport materials to and from the site to avoid construction traffic in York’s narrow city centre streets. Due to the Guildhall’s central riverside location, the Canal & River Trust enabled contractors to use the river to erect an on-site Tower Crane and provide access for deliveries, which would otherwise be impossible via road. Use of the river has also reduced road deliveries into the heart of the city. Over 1,000 river deliveries were made through the contract period to bring in equipment and materials.
  • The capital spend has transform edit from a long-term liability for the Council into a vibrant and financially viable city landmark.