'Opening Doors' - York Mansion House

De Matos Ryan Architects


The 'Opening Doors' project delivers the most comprehensive restoration of the first purpose-built house for a Lord Mayor in the country since its completion in 1732 and develops a new, unique and dynamic visitor experience designed to reveal the past, present and future significance of the house, its collections and the stories they hold to a wider and more extensive audience than ever before.

For the first time, the Mansion House opens its doors permanently to the public and in so doing, this £2.4 million project, made possible with a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, enables the conditions for this historic building to develop a sustainable resilient financial future.

Architecturally, the project completed an extensive external and internal refurbishment of works which stripped out decades of intrusive additions to the Grade 1 listed fabric. Emphasis has been given to expose and enhance original features, including the reinstatement of a fully functioning 18th century kitchen. Heritage assets are offset by clear modern architectural additions and interventions, allowing the collections and artefacts accumulated over centuries to shine.

Significant strengthening of the roof structure supporting the delicate lath and plaster ceiling of the State Room was carried out with extensive plaster restoration throughout. Underpinning of the central brickwork piers was undertaken to arrest historic movement and strengthening of floor structures enabled the installation of modern bespoke high security display cases to create distinct new Silver & Gold Galleries.

A new fully integrated museum standard temperature and humidity system ensures the highest level of environmental control with minimum energy consumption and significant reduction in Carbon Footprint. All mechanical and electrical services have been replaced and the design of these has been carefully considered to best integrate and protect the Grade 1 listed building fabric, minimising both physical and visual impact on the heritage asset. A holistic approach to security and safety has implemented a new robust fire strategy to safeguard the building, content and its occupants while enabling the removal of intrusive protected route lobbies detrimental to the Grade 1 listed heritage asset. A layered security strategy has been developed to protect the valuable collections which will now be made accessible to the public with this project.

Interpretation and new digital interactives are designed to be unobtrusive and easy to move allowing the house to function on a daily basis, as a venue for councillor meetings, business presentations and receptions. 


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