Next Project

RIBA Drawings Collection, York

Part 1 Project 2009
Neil Lyle
Leeds Beckett University | UK
Although historic records can be photographed or digitised, destroying the original artifact negates their cultural significance. Despite the efforts to conserve such items, the archives that contain them are rarely easily accessible for public viewing.

Observations of the site revealed contrasts between areas of light and dark which are attributed to problems with access and movement through the site. The spaces defined by the chiaroscuro were explored in relation to the dark to light requirements of archive storage and viewing. Louis Kahn observed that, ‘The making of spaces is the making of light at the same time.’ An analogy is made between the RIBA Drawings Collection and York’s Roman wall ruins on the site, which were treated as an archived item, exhibited to tell their history.

Responding to site studies, the concept is based on the diffraction and refraction of light penetrating through the apertures of the ruins, the built form spreads from the centre of the site from the existing library and shifts its form to break through the confines of the site. Furthermore, this concept is applied to the hierarchy of space, the repository’s form is clearly articulated and opened up to the public, shedding light on the objects kept in darkness within.

Neil Lyle

Neil Lyle
The project was one of a number set in York which investigated the relationship between urban space and the City’s walls. The isolation and separation of space are phenomena common to a number of areas adjacent to the Wall which result in poor permeability and wasted opportunities. Current policies restrict the opportunities for resolution of these problems, and the intent of the group was to investigate holistically the effect of selective removal and contemporary intervention to create new urban spaces which may link and allow further enjoyment of the historic fabric.
Neil’s proposal for a new RIBA Archive addressed a number of issues and brought into play an area adjacent to the Roman Wall which is currently under used and abused due to its inaccessibility.
The form of the architecture contrasts and compliments the existing fabric and announces the introduction of a new public space which links the City Art Gallery to the River Ouse via a much underused route alongside the Kings Manor. The project allowed Neil to continue his interest in an architectural language which respects context. His solution produces a new urban space which is dynamic and useful. The project shows a confidence which is born out of a rigorous methodology carried out with enthusiasm and the whole is communicated with conviction.


Mr Gary Hornsby
• Page Hits: 9390         • Entry Date: 08 July 2009         • Last Update: 12 September 2009