Two council building projects have won three major prizes at the York Design Awards this week.

York’s Guildhall won the award for conservation and restoration jointly with Clifford’s Tower amid stiff competition from a range of incredible projects across York. The council’s first phase of its Housing Delivery Project at Lowfield Green had double success, winning The Lord Mayor’s award and the residential multiple dwellings category.

The much-needed, low-energy homes at Lowfield Green are among the first 165 to be built for Shape Homes York as part of City of York Council’s Housing Delivery programme which, over five years, will deliver 600 new houses. 40% of the homes at Lowfield Green are affordable: half are for social rent and half are for shared ownership, with priority being given to people with disabilities and to key workers.

Designed to be lower carbon to support the council’s Climate Change commitment and to lower resident’s fuel consumption, the homes are fitted with photovoltaic cells, are very well-insulated and have been independently assessed for ‘A’ rated Energy Performance Certificates (EPC).

Over half the homes are now occupied, with the next phase will to be released later this summer via Shape Homes and interest can be registered at

York’s Guildhall reopened earlier this year and is back serving the city after substantial refurbishment and redevelopment works.

As well as resuming its place at the heart of local democracy and an events destination, it is providing a huge boost to York’s economy. Businesses have already moved into the new office spaces and the refurbished Guildhall could result in over 200 jobs being created and a £100m boost to the city’s economy in the next five years.

The redevelopment of the historic buildings saw modern elements incorporated around the historic core of the Guildhall, to secure the long-term future of the site: with high quality offices, shared business space and meeting rooms, which will also be available for community use, a café, a new riverside restaurant, and new external areas with better access for local residents.

Work began in September 2019 and was completed earlier this year. The once in a generation refurbishment and redevelopment follows a long period where only reactive repairs were carried out; and represents the most significant investment since extensive rebuilding works after the bombing in 1942 that caused serious damage.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance said: “We are thrilled to win this award and well done to everyone who was shortlisted. That there was such a wide breadth of incredible projects highlights what a special city York is.

“This investment in an iconic York building was a once-in-a-generation project and it has been amazing to see what has been achieved. This was a huge team and partnership effort and saw us overcome numerous challenges, including the COVID pandemic, and I want to once again thank everyone who was involved.

“This project secured the future of this famous building and it has been fantastic to see the impact it has had already, with businesses moving in and lots of positive feedback.”

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities, said: “Congratulations to all the nominees and winners in this year’s inspiring shortlist.

“I’m so proud that Lowfield Green is providing much-needed high quality and affordable homes for residents, and these awards support that vision. The homes include details like incorporating benches in the porches to help neighbours get to know each other, generous internal spaces to support people’s changing requirements, and photovoltaic panels to generate electricity and add to their affordability.

“The success of Lowfield Green is another vote of confidence for our Housing Delivery Programme. Its next phase is building Passivhaus-certified homes: 36 are about to be built at Duncombe Barracks in Clifton; we’ll start work on 78 later this year at Burnholme in Heworth, and we’ve secured planning permission for 85 intergenerational homes off Hospital Fields Road in Fishergate.”

City of York Council’s success in the 2022 York Design Award winners is:

  • Conservation/Restoration – York Guildhall (and Clifford’s Tower)
  • Residential Multiple Dwellings -Lowfield Green (and The Lodge/Extern House at St Joseph’s Convent)
  • Lord Mayor’s Award: Lowfield Green.

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