We are delighted to have been shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards for the Yorkshire House, the Malmaison Hotel, York.

This really extraordinary project took a post-war, modernist, local landmark in a medieval, hertiage context and reinvented it as a truly contemporary hotel for the 21st century. Internal spaces were reconfigured, level acces introduced and a spectacular new skybar delivered at roof level with extensive views to York Minster and the city. Throughout, the design approach has been one of respecting the building fabric, mitigating external interruptions to the rhythmic elevations and clearly demarcating new additions where they exist. Through careful space-planning, the hotel floor layouts were developed to work with the facades and maximise the amount and quality of hotel accommodation.

We’re pleased to see the hard work of our team – and the wider project team – recognised in this way, and to be shortlisted again for an AJ Retrofit Award – a testament to our experience and beleif in the value and sustainable contribution building-reuse can make.

Whist the construction sector continues to contribute between 35-40% of the UK’s emissions, the industry will remain rightfully focussed on how we can respond to the climate crisis – with a significant focus on reuse, refurbishment and retrofit. Whilst these ambitions are well documented in theory, in practice there are significant challenges, particularly where vacant and disused structures provide unique and often costly challenges to developers who have specific and exacting standards to deliver.

With more corporations and public entities seeking to headquarter or develop bases in the north – particularly Yorkshire – the commercial demand for space is ever increasing. We feel this presents enormous opportunity for the creative reuse of our cities’ existing and often well-known buildings to provide new uses – without the cost to our built heritage, or at excessive cost to our environment. As we discuss property futures in Yorkshire, we should be celebrating successful examples of reuse in practice.

We believe this project represents the successful fusion of the retention of this important post-war building with the demands of 21st century performance, facilities and new ways of working / living. Whilst the building’s form, levels and existing structure posed challenges, opportunities were found to deliver the kind of accommodation demanded by the end-user, through creative extension and a careful management of a planning approach.

We hope this marks a step forward for the region, demonstrating that existing buildings can and will attract the big names, inward investment and provide landmark structures, critically those in prestigious locations.