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Case study: The Hiscox Building

Case study: The Hiscox Building

Article published 2019Estimated reading time 1 minute

The new underwriting and customer experience centre for global insurer Hiscox sits in the heart of historical York. The building’s design takes its cues from the city’s rich heritage, with a ribbon-like central staircase inspired by the Roman city wall and a brick weave facade that references the area’s 19th-century wool market. The deferential massing creates space between the neighbouring 15th-century pub The Black Swan and allows for a new footpath towards the River Foss.

Inside, the 3-storey glazed atrium houses a 12m decommissioned Soviet rocket – part of the extensive art collection found throughout the building, including the roof terrace. Hiscox intends for these artworks to provoke and inspire.

Meanwhile, the open layout and plentiful breakout spaces are designed to create a strong sense of community and collaboration.


York, UK









Project team

Access=Design, Allen & Overy, Arup, Asset Building Consultancy, BAM Construction, CBRE, Chapman BDSP, Charles Funke Associates, FMDC, Gerald Eve, Gleeds, KKS Strategy, MLM Building Control, Schumann Consult, The Brand Experience Consultancy

Make team

Robin Gill, George Guest, Jason Parker, Ken Shuttleworth

A part of york

Main entrance and neighbouring Tudor-era Black Swan pub, viewed from the north. A new footpath runs between them.

Making a statement

View towards reception. The building is made with 5,000m3 of concrete – enough to fill two Olympic-sized pools.

Celebrating art and locale

Ground floor workspace with artwork by Yorkshire-born writer and artist Harland Miller.

A brighter workday

First floor workspace with an ‘art wall’ that conceals staff locker space.

Creating connections

The central staircase helps promote movement, visibility and personal interactions.

A unique vista

The rooftop terrace is open to all and offers a fantastic view of the York Minster.


This article featured in Exchange Issue No. 1, which explores the future of the workplace sector with architectural discussions, developer interviews, industry expert essays, design case studies and more.

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