York Castle Museum York

Joana Polonia

For the York Castle Museum Masterplan, Alison Brooks Architects led our consultant team in assessing the Museum’s stable of 18th Century and more recent buildings, devising a strategy to clarify the Museum as a ‘campus’ of heritage structures and designing a new building to act as the Museum Entrance, Visitor and Education Centre.

Following the competition win, our masterplan incorporating extensive feedback from the York Museums Trust wide stakeholder group and formed the basis for a 2019 Heritage Lottery Fund application.

Conceived as a new landscape context for the Museum including the Eye of York and the Castle Walls, the scheme seeks to transform the symbolic centre of York into a new cultural heart for the city. A ‘Museum Quarter’ is created through the addition of a new museum building to the existing heritage complex.

The new building will serve as an inviting gateway to the Eye of York’s civic space. It will offer 4,900sqm of space for museum display, temporary exhibitions, conference space for corporate events, administrative hub, shop and cafés. Its foyer will feature the archaeological remains of the original Castle Gate as a celebration of the site history and centrepiece of a spectacular three-storey atrium. The new Museum will also serve as the Foyer to the Female Prison and Kirkgate.

Our proposal restores the Debtor’s Prison as an autonomous, accessible visitor experience by removing the 1970’s ‘concourse’. The Castle wall and new pedestrian connection to the river can now be exposed to the civic square and will be accessible to all via an elegant new public stair and lift. The Castle Wall boardwalk will connect Half Moon Court to the Female Prison River Café Terrace. The new and existing buildings will provide a serene, picturesque backdrop for a new Eye of York square, allowing people to come together for cultural events and commemorations, at all times of year.


Alison Brooks Architects’ Team: Alison Brooks, Ceri Edmunds, Juliana Rocha, John Lawlor, Jan Cieslewicz

Richard Griffiths Architects
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan
Winning Competition Entry