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Askham Bar Terminal, York

This exceptional landmark building forms the central hub for a major new transport interchange in York. Indeed Askham Bar is already being studied by students for its innovative design.

The most exciting aspect of the project is the integration of engineering and architectural design to create a prominent state-of-the-art, negative-carbon structure. The main element in the construction was timber, which presents novel challenges for engineers.

Less obvious innovation in the civil engineering design was needed because green timber was used, rather than laminated members. The engineers also had to devise a solution for supporting the substantial weights of 250mm deep chunky green timber.

The superstructure was also designed to have a low-carbon footprint at the point of construction. The main structural components of British Douglas fir were designed to maximise the mass of sequestered carbon and to minimise the carbon footprint. Moreover, the design had to overcome the challenges associated with a landfill site above 10m of domestic refuse and the attendant risk of methane emissions this produced.

The new interchange offers substantial park and ride facilities with up to 1000 spaces. The hub itself is carefully designed for the comfort of users, with a rain- protected area to board buses, an internal waiting hall, a security control centre and meeting room facilities. The site design also anticipates any future additions such as wind turbines and generators, with the robust design intended to prevent the need for a new piled base each time a new turbine and tower are needed in future.

This project expanded on the expertise we acquired when working on the Sunderland Transport Interchange, which has subsqeuntly demonstrated the fitness for purpose and longevity of timber as a primary material. 

Askham Bar recieved a certification of 'very good' from BREEAM, the world's foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings.