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A Look Back at York St John University


Last week York St. John University Creative Centre won RIBA Yorkshire Building of the Year Award 2023! To celebrate we thought we would take a look back at our work on the project:

The secret-fixing timber slatted panel system, designed, manufactured and installed by BCL Timber Projects at York St John University's Creative Centre is the standout feature of the building's design. The building is distinguished by its facades, which are decorated with various timber finishes to create a “supertexture”. The work comprises curved timber panels and timber soffits, wrapping the entire exterior of the building, internal wooden slat walls and timber ceilings in the vast entrance lobby and class A acoustic timber panels in the auditorium.

BCL Timber Cladding at York St John

The external timber panels, acoustic wood ceiling and timber slat walls are made in FSC certified Siberian larch, using a combination of black stain coating (to mimic a charred appearance) and natural wood finish to give the building a warm organic feel, in keeping with the centre's artistic focus – all delivered in BCL’s secretly rear-fixed slatted panel system, avoiding any surface weaknesses from fixings or penetrations to timber, allowing coatings to last longer and timber to age better.

The wood cladding panels have been carefully chosen to provide both visual interest and texture to the building's façade, creating a sense of depth and richness. The concave and convex curves of the protruding elements are unusual and eye-catching, intended by the project Architects Tate+Co to reflect vertical niches on the nearby York Minster Cathedral.

The use of timber also promotes sustainability, aligning with the university's values and commitment to reducing its environmental impact. It is a genuinely sustainable building, both in operational and embodied carbon terms. The project has subsequently achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating of environmental sustainability.

One of the additional efficiency benefits that BCL’s wooden slatted panels bought to the project was the reduction of on-site waste. Unlike alternative 'off-the-shelf' panels that require cutting and on-site modification, resulting in a large amount of waste during installation - the use of BCL’s flexible system, sized to fit the specific dimensions & layouts of the project, ensures little to no cutting on site. This results in much less waste and a more sustainable and more efficient construction process.