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The Ark

Part 1 Project 2006
Henry Lanham
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
The Ark is an environmental resource, an incubator for green industries, a source of information, inspiration and a landmark for York. The first port of call for the arriving visitor, a destination for all bringing life to a little used corner of the city.

Firmly rooted amongst the ancient trees of the Museum Gardens the Ark is a new gateway, creating a permeable edge along the riverside footpath. The transparent public space sits firmly above a plinth of workspaces, the exhibition spaces are both held aloft by monolithic pedestals for all to see, advertising the environmental credentials of York.

Henry Lanham

Setting sail, or just landed?

Such ambiguity and scope for interpretation is woven deeply throughout this magical adventure of a building. In the city image it is a bold, assured, unusual and original landmark. What is it? On approach and engagement it is accessible, intimate, personable and friendly. Where does it lead ? On entry, and exploration, further questions unfold. What are these bright, shiny containers? What happens inside them?

Technically the complexity and contradiction is continued. In parts solid, rooted, massive and heat-soaking. In others delicate, intricate and sun-loving.

Such a building would be popular, memorable, provocative and timely.

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