New Public Spaces: May Events

The design process is starting to move into a level of detail and is now suggesting how different parts of the Castle Gateway area will feel and work.

We are at a point where we can start to be more specific about how people might be able to use the different areas and what their experience of them will be.

For the May events and social media discussions we will be sharing the design thinking so far, the emerging concepts for the area and some of the challenges the designers are grappling with as they develop proposals.

There will be a few different ways of taking part in this:

  • An overview of the emerging design ideas: A video will be shared via the My Castle Gateway website and social media where Andy Kerr, Castle Gateway Project Lead, and Matthew Costa, the project landscape architect for BPD will share an update and the thinking so far.
  • Exploring the ideas in more detail: In addition to looking in more detail at the design of the main events space, the video will be used as a prompt for three workshops for those interested in exploring the unresolved and more tricky areas. In the workshops we’re going to build stories of the places and use these to open up the questions the designers are asking themselves right now – alongside also those which came out of the last round of engagement. We’re also running an in-real-life event on Saturday 29th May that will link the three parts of the area – and the different issues – together.
  • Social media responses: We’ll also use this phase to reach a wide range of people and to ensure interested people know what’s going on and invite responses.

There will be three themes for these events and social media engagement:

We may not be able to get really close to the Foss from the new public space – but how can we make it distinctive and playful?

The Foss Riverside

28th May, 5-6pm, online workshop /  Book your place

Here is a place which is beside the river but still separated from it by height, and where the views out across the water aren’t of pretty backdrops but to the back of large buildings, sat above sheet piling. It’s a place that is greener but also hard, hinting at buried history and playing with it to create a landscape which in turn invites play. The design process has also demonstrated that getting closer to the river will be difficult and the focus has shifted to creating extended riverside space with its own environment – distinctive and playful.

  • If we can’t get close to the water, how can the space give people a different experience to the rest of Castle Gateway, somehow referencing the river?
  • How can its linear quality, linking the route from Piccadilly to a very different space behind the Female Prison and on towards the new bridge at Castle Mills, be made into something positive?
  • How can the riverside act as a corridor for biodiversity while also being well-used and playful in character?
  • How can it be a place which is in some ways inward-looking and contains enough to make it interesting, but also has edges which allow connection with both the Foss and the main open events space?
  • How will you use it, and how will it feel at different times of day or year?
The Eye of York is a place of authority and resistance, of national politics and personal stories – how can the new public spaces respond?

The Eye of York: The Legacy of Power

1st June 7-8pm, online workshop / Book your place

The area between the museum buildings and the courts has a very specific character which sets it apart, where architecture and a formal, symmetrical setting has retained an almost oppressive atmosphere. And yet this is also a place of collective, public power too – site of elections and protest and also personal, very human scale stories as evoked so powerfully through the graffiti craved into the stone walls of the prison. It also remains a place that needs to manage formal functions – vehicular access and parking for the courts and the main pedestrian approach to the museum’s current entrance (and potentially a future link to Castle Mills).

  • What sort of space might draw you to stay and engage with it?
  • What scale and type of landscaping would work in this setting to welcome people while somehow acknowledging the intimidating scale and purpose of the buildings around it?
  • How might we interpret power, authority and resistance through the public spaces? What function(s) should the space have in order to allow people to engage with its significance in the present and future?
Ritual and remembering will be important activities in the new public spaces in the Castle Gateway area – what routes and spaces do we need?

The Motte and Clifford’s Tower: Ritual and Reflection

2nd June, 7-8pm, online workshop / Book your place

The new public spaces need to enable reflection and ritual. Given the global significance of the massacre of York’s Jews in 1190, the hangings at the Last Drop, and the broad impact on past lives of the exercise of authority, the area around the Motte and Clifford’s Tower needs to enable reflection, prayer and remembrance.

  • As places for reflection are created, how will they work and feel and what do they need to have in order to set them apart while maintaining connection to the surrounding spaces?
  • How does the space around the Motte provide for the specific remembrance of 1190 – gathering, saying Mourner’s Kaddish, placing stones? What design elements might express a Jewish identity?
  • How might the wider area acknowledge the history of executions / deportations / exercise of power (and do so with some sensitive relationship with 1190)?
  • How might landscaping and water be used to create enclosure and sound and mood?
  • How might places to walk and places to stop be made?
  • How does quiet reflection happen in a noisy place? How is activity and sound managed by the design of space?
My Castle Gateway, now not just online! Join us for a in situ, real-life event to explore and link key themes emerging in the design ideas

My Castle Gateway in situ

29th May, 1-3pm / Book your place

My Castle Gateway is running three online events in May and June. However, as the restrictions have eased we are able to run a in real life event that will explore key themes in situ:

  • The Foss Riverside
  • The Eye of York: The Legacy of Power
  • The Motte & Clifford’s Tower: Ritual and Reflection

We will link the themes together through being in those places and using our experiences, the sights and smells to engage the design ideas.

The event will be for limited numbers. We’ll send you an email with requirements around masks and social distancing once you have booked.

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