Upside-down trapezoidal block to be built entirely from natural materials, design team say

York student centre 1

ADP Architecture and O’Donnell & Tuomey’s designs for a six-storey student centre at the University of York

A pairing of ADP Architecture and O’Donnell & Tuomey has submitted plans for a new student centre at the University of York.

The six-storey building takes the form of an upside-down trapezoid and is intended to offer an “iconic new arrival point” on the university’s Campus West, the duo said.

It will contain event spaces, collaborative study areas, TV and radio studios and a new home for the university’s student unions and support services, along with a cafe and rooftop garden.

Planning approval has already been granted for the demolition of some existing vacant buildings on the site, with work to remove them set to start this spring.

Construction of the new block is slated to start in spring next year and complete by 2026 if the scheme is given the all clear.

It will be built entirely from natural materials and renewable sources, the design team said, including reconstituted stone with plans for solar panels, rooflights and solar controlled glazing. 

The centre will also reach high sustainability standards including ‘net zero carbon’ accredited by the UK Green Building Council.

ADP director Helen O’Curry said the project had been a “joy” to work on

“The Student Centre is a key strategic intervention into the wonderful York campus landscape. 

“Located between iconic structures on the campus, the centre creates a visible and welcoming gateway to the university, providing significant public realm and dedicated student facilities,” she said.

O’Donnell & Tuomey co-founder John Tuomey said the centre will be a “singular structure” that responded to the visual patterns of York Minster, with design principles which embodied environmental responsibility.

The Dublin-based practice designed the Victoria & Albert Museum’s east London outpost at Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is nearing completion.

ADP’s recent projects include a rooftop extension to the grade II*-listed Sir William Henry Bragg Building at the University of Leeds, which was shortlisted for a 2023 RIBA Yorkshire award.