One of York’s most iconic buildings is to get a makeover – so it can be lit up in different colours

The iconic Central Hall at the University of York is set to get a further revamp – with a new plaza set to be created outside the building and lighting installed to illuminate the landmark.

City of York Council has granted planning permission for the scheme, which aims to make the building more accessible, improve the area outside and refurbish areas inside.

The Central Hall was designed by Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall and Partners and built between 1966 and 1968.

University of York Central Hall. Photograph: york.ac.uk

The building was Grade II-listed in 2018 and the Campus West area, where it sits, is also Grade II-listed as a park and garden.

A design statement for the plans says: “Although the building is considered to be a key focal point for the York University campus, the existing lighting to the building does not reflect the importance of the building within the context of the wider campus.

“The proposed scheme provides multiple new layers of lighting effects designed to accentuate the brutalist form of the Central Hall, enhance distant views to the building, emphasise the external covered entrance area and improve visual hierarchy and way finding towards the building.”

The illuminations can be changed to different colours to celebrate the building for special events.

New seating

The auditorium

The seats in the auditorium will be replaced, dressing rooms refurbished and panels will be installed to improved acoustics.

It will also be made more accessible with changes to the seating, doorways widened and platform lifts installed.

A new plaza will be created to the east of the building, with amphitheatre-style seats and “seating cubes”.

The view from above

The scheme has been revised because of concerns raised about the initial proposals and planning officers approved the project, saying it has “clear public benefits”.

A spokesperson for the University of York said: “We are excited to continue with the next phase of our development works around Central Hall. These refurbishments to a landmark building will provide an up-to-date, multi-use space whilst preserving the look of this iconic building.

“The works will improve access to and within the building, allow more flexible use of the space and enhance teaching and events held in Central Hall, when these are once again permitted under government guidelines.”