The Holgate Building

A new social life for a listed building

The Grade II Listed Holgate Building sits at the heart of the York St John University campus. The objective of the refurbishment scheme was to create welcoming campus reception and a vibrant social hub, in a centralised and easily accessible space.

Spread over three floors, the scheme amalgamates the core provision of Student Services, including Student Welfare, Finance and a reception area.

 Original fabric and features were retained during the building alterations.

The layout improvements to the ground floor create a welcoming and flexible workspace that encourages interaction and cross-pollination of skill sets between different disciplines. The space is enhanced by self-help information points and intimate group study/meeting pods that are fully IT enabled. Newly created entrance lobbies provide relaxed working environments while improving draft exclusion at the same time. The repositioning of the service core links Holgate to the dining area along a defined route with improved access. The dining room itself was given new life through the introduction of movable partitions. We identified that, at off-peak times, much of the room was dead space. This new element of flexibility creates a multi-functional room that can be used for seminars and meetings.

To preserve the historical integrity of the university buildings, every effort was made to ensure that the original fabric and features were retained during the building alterations. Any new interventions were incorporated respectfully. However, there was a dire need to improve the building’s sustainability profile. An environmental upgrade was achieved by introducing secondary glazing, thermal lining to external walls and an efficient heating and ventilation strategy.

The rationalised layout provides a relaxed and sociable space, with all the alterations respecting the building’s Listed status.


Client:York St John University
Contractor:Illingworth & Gregory
Service: Architecture, Interior Design
Sector: Learning