DMA and Dominvs Group celebrate planning win for new hotel in central York conservation area  

Dexter Moren Associates (DMA) has won planning consent for a new high-quality hotel at the heart of York’s Central Historic Core conservation area for client Dominvs Group. The 132-bedroom hotel, near the landmark Clifford’s Tower, will feature a restaurant facing out onto the busy Piccadilly thoroughfare, becoming part of the Castle Regeneration Area.

Explains Rebeca Aguilera, Associate at DMA: “Given the incredible sensitivity of the site, we worked in close collaboration with officers from York City Council to create a simple yet detailed design whose massing and materials do not overpower its surroundings – particularly St Denys’s Church and Walmgate – yet creates a credible link to its context and the hundreds of years of history that surrounds it.”

DMA’s concept for the façade interprets a contemporary approach to York’s vernacular architecture, particularly referencing the area’s detailed window and shop front designs. The use of brick solidifies the relationship between the hotel and the townscape, as red brick is a predominant material in the area, as well as establishing a link from the present day to the historic fabric of the city. Thanks to the use of different bonds and shadow gaps, the brick creates a coherent yet varied design, articulating and defining different aspects of the hotel’s elevation.

Scale and massing were key issues, leading to the new hotel being ‘divided’ into two volumes. The higher side faces towards Piccadilly and reflects its larger building typologies, whilst the lower end of the volume sits comfortably with the more intimate scale of Walmgate and ensures that the hotel is subservient to the Grade I listed St Denys’ Church. The top floor and roofline are angled facing Piccadilly, echoing York’s varied roofscape, but stepped back, simple and unchallenging facing the church.

A new public realm provides an important element to hotel’s setting facing Piccadilly, giving an open and welcoming first impression, and includes new trees and planters with seating to create a wider pedestrian friendly area.

Concludes Rebeca Aguilera, Associate: “Despite the difficulties faced by the hospitality industry at the moment, the long-term view remains positive and we are seeing the demand for good quality, well-designed and carefully placed hotels remain steady. This scheme further builds on DMA’s strong track record of creating deliverable hotel projects in sensitive and historic locations that can achieve commercial success and can contribute to the commercial revival of city centre areas.”

It has been estimated that the proposed hotel will create between 50 and 70 full- and part-time jobs during construction and once in operation.