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Greg’s Place: York unveils vibrant new outdoor space

Posted on 10 May 2016

The University of York launched a new outdoor community space this week, supported by former Chancellor Greg Dyke.

Greg's Place launch event (credit: Ian Martindale)Greg’s Place launch event (credit: Ian Martindale)

Located on Vanbrugh Piazza at the heart of Campus West, Greg’s Place offers an innovative space to host pop-up activities and view art installations, open air cinema, and performance for students and visitors alike.

On 9 May, Greg Dyke attended a launch event including live entertainment and a film screening of Grease on a temporary pop-up screen, organised by YUSU, York Student Cinema, Screen Yorkshire, YSTV and the Department of Theatre, Film and Television.

The Vanbrugh Piazza, an original feature of Andrew Derbyshire’s masterplan for the University of York in 1968, provides an important lakeside view and recreation space on campus. Ironically nicknamed over the years as ‘Vanbrugh Paradise’, Greg Dyke made a gift to the University to transform the space in his final year of office.

Building on research from the University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute, careful planning of lawns, planting, seating and crosswalks has created a creative and ecologically sustainable area.

Greg Dyke said at the launch event: "I was a student here for three years and I was Chancellor for 11 years, so a bit of my heart will always be here. It is really nice to be here."

Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor at the University of York, said: “Greg’s Place on Vanbrugh Piazza has the potential to become a truly iconic space on our campus. It is an important backdrop to our Graduation days, Open days, and Visit Days, and I hope it will also become a space enjoyed and used by our community every day.

“I am enormously grateful to Greg Dyke, and our other benefactors, for being so supportive of this initiative that will have a truly transformational effect on our student, staff and visitor experience.”

Ben Leatham, YUSU President, said: “We are delighted to work with the University to ensure that Greg’s Place becomes a space used by the entire community throughout the year; from pop-up shops to temporary exhibitions. I’m really excited by the opportunitiesthat this project will present for the York community to demonstrate just how creativeand enterprising they are.”

Gordon Eastham, Grounds Maintenance Manager at the University of York, said: “Greg’s Place provides a brilliant new community hub at the heart of our campus on Vanbrugh Piazza – previously long regarded as an eyesore. Working with TGP Landscape Architects, we implemented a design with habitat creation and biodiversity as a primary focus.

“In terms of sustainability, several soft landscaping features contribute to our ecological management aspirations for campus. The rain garden is irrigated with rainwater captured from surface water drainage and channelled into the planting beds, and plant species chosen are attractive to bees and other pollinators. This dovetails well with several other bee-friendly plantings on campus, and will contribute tremendously to our application for Green Flag status again this year.”

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