Clifford’s Tower

Commercial & Leisure

Architect: Hugh Broughton Architects Ltd and Martin Ashley Architects

Client/Owner: English Heritage

Structural Engineer: Ramboll

Main Contractor: Simpson (York) Ltd

Joinery Company: Buckland Timber Ltd & Simpson (York) Ltd

Quantity Surveyor: RNJ Partnership LLP

Glulam manufacturer/ Structural timber contractor: Buckland Timber Ltd

Wood Supplier: Piveteau Bois, Buckland Timber Ltd and Marley Ltd

Species: Douglas fir (France), PEFC & FSC

Location: York

Photography credits: © English Heritage or Dirk Lindner

These soaring timber columns give rise to a structure which grants the public full access to the monument, provides a striking contrast to the stonework, and lends protection from the elements.

Clifford’s Tower, once the keep of York Castle, is a scheduled monument perched on a man-made motte. Timber was ideally suited for the new structure due to its low carbon impact and light weight properties. The raised location, limited access, steep slopes, and irregular geometry were some of the factors making the construction of the tower challenging; all timber components were designed so that they could be lifted in and connected on the site, using concealed connections.

The design features a timber deck which partially covers the interior of the ruin and is supported on four glulam timber columns. The architectural form celebrates the exposed timber structure with no unnecessary finishes. Timber was the ideal material for this project in keeping with the durability and low maintenance required for the design life of 50 years for the structure.