Gardens Reception Building

Client: York Museums Trust

The Trust is responsible for the maintenance and development of all the natural and built elements within the York Museum Gardens. They have recently earmarked a small outhouse/shed at the southeast corner of the gardens as a possible site for a Reception Building. We were approached by the Trust in late 2013 and asked to provide a brief study to consider how the building could be used as a basis for the necessary facilities for the visitors and users of the gardens.

The practice took an outline list of accommodation and worked this up to a detailed brief, analysing how a building might be used, staff operations, enterprise opportunity, security, circulation, the existing trees and the access and approaches to the building from within the gardens.

Of significant importance was the appearance and the impact that the building might have within the historic garden environment, both above and below ground. The shed lies within a particularly sensitive site adjacent to Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments and within a Grade II registered garden.

Our solution was to create a reception, shop/meeting room, café, a kitchen and staff area and accessible wc at the upper level. This would sit on top of the existing lower level which would accommodate wc’s, energy room and storage. For security purposes, access to the wc’s would be via the reception area which would oversee all areas and incoming visitors. Glazing to the majority of the frontage was included to welcome in the visitor and provide a bright indoor/outdoor space.

The building was designed to be constructed using sustainable and locally sourced materials, with a green roof and larch cladding on a timber frame - all built above existing ground levels to minimize any potential harm to archaeological remains.

Architecture | Creative Conservation | Heritage

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