City of York Council has granted full planning permission for a bespoke, landmark office scheme for global specialist insurer Hiscox – the firm’s largest office in the UK outside London.

Located in the Hungate area of York, the £19m development covers 4,650m² over four storeys and will eventually accommodate up to 500 people. The design ethos of the new building establishes a dynamic, innovative working environment with open, flexible floor space and bright, light interiors which aim to foster creativity and collaboration. The development will also create attractive landscaped open space and new pedestrianised routes which will improve connections with the city centre and York Minster.

The defining feature of the building is an undulating woven lattice brickwork facade inspired by the former wool market and the medieval wattle and daub buildings that characterise York. The fluid language of the scheme informed the design of the new public realm, which introduces an attractive, landscaped space that adds vitality to the townscape and enhances the rich history of the area.

Steve Langan, Managing Director, Hiscox UK and Europe, said: “The brief we gave the architects was to create something that represents a progressive addition to the long history of York – something that taps into the history of the Hungate site and is sympathetic to the surrounding listed buildings, while using cutting-edge architectural, design and working practices. I want it to be a centre that drives innovation and a place that both Hiscox and York can be extremely proud of for many years to come.”

Jason Parker, Make partner and the project lead architect added: “We are proud to be creating such a significant space for Hiscox and the city of York. Our aim is to reintroduce a sense of place to the area by redefining the streetscape and improving accessibility to the wider area. The scheme is sensitively designed to reflect the rich heritage and character of the city, while providing a high quality, contemporary addition that will establish an important new focal point for the area.”

Hiscox collaborated with Make and KKS Strategy LLP on the scheme’s interior architecture. Katrina Kostic Samen, KKS Strategy LLP partner said: “The client was looking to develop an environment that would encourage staff to connect and communicate – a physical statement of their open, customer-focused culture.  The Make-KKS collaboration made it possible to translate these occupier requirements into design solutions that respond to Hiscox’s challenge. The side core maximises unobstructed space and sight lines, and the sinuous staircase rising through the atrium to the roof terrace enables natural, easy communication. The result is a light and welcoming space that brings people together, and a building that is a memorable expression of the Hiscox brand.”

Construction work will commence early 2014 and completion is scheduled for summer 2015. For up-to-date info on the project and how it’s progressing, visit



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