Invited Design Competition

The leadership of St Michael le Belfrey Church, in the heart of the beautiful and historic City of York are seeking Expressions of Interest from experienced architect-led multi-disciplinary teams for the reordering of their church building.

The reordering of St Michael le Belfrey Church has been under consideration for much of the four decades since the revival of the church through the ministry of David Watson. The resulting changes in the numbers and profile of the congregation together with a more modern style of worship and the availability of new technology are providing incentives and opportunities – alongside the pressing need for major building repairs – to make the building more fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Overview of the Competition Format:

Pre-Qualification via Expression of Interest

Submission of Design concepts in response to an outline brief with accompanying tender return

Vision Statement

Our vision for the project is to renew and enhance the historic Church building of St Michael le Belfrey in order to inspire and enable 21st century worship and mission, to meet the needs of the people we serve and assist God's plan to transform the North of England from the heart of Yorkshire.

The mission for the building of St Michael le Belfrey is to provide a significant and attractive resource facility for engaging and welcoming people into the family of God, realising our strategic emphases of making disciples, nurturing disciples, developing leaders and planting churches.

This requires creating a space which provides an open, welcoming, accessible and warm Church environment, with a flexible interior arrangement while remaining faithful to our heritage. The reordering will seek to embrace the use of current technology to its fullest, while at the same time preserving the most significant historical and architectural aspects of the building. In this way we will blend modern practicality and versatility with beauty, and declare and encourage our values of simplicity, humility, festivity and generosity.

St Michael le Belfrey Church is situated next to York Minster, one of the largest Gothic churches in northern Europe.

Competition Timetable

Key dates, which may be subject to alteration, are as follows:

Activity Date (estimated)
Competition Launch Mon 07 Jan 2019
Deadline for Questions Wed 30 Jan 2019
Deadline for Receipt of Expression of Interest Tues 19 Feb 2019 at 14:00
Evaluation of Expression of Interest Submissions Thurs 28 Feb 2019
Shortlist Notified & Notification to unsuccessful applicants Wed 06 Mar 2019
Design Brief Issued to Shortlist Thurs 07 Mar 2019
Site visit and Briefing Session Tues 12 Mar 2019
Deadline for Questions Tues 02 Apr 2019
Response to Questions Tues 09 Apr 2019
Submission of tenders Tues 07 May 2019 at 14:00
Public Consultation w/c 13 May 2019
Tender evaluation commences w/c 20 May 2019
Clarification Interviews w/c 27 May 2019
Notification of Result w/c 3 June 2019
Public Announcement of Result w/c 3 June 2019


Preliminary Briefing Paper

Download the Brief


From Saturday 11 May to Friday 17 May, St Michael le Belfrey will be holding a public exhibition of initial design ideas from the shortlisted Architects.

Open each day from approximately 10am to 3pm, Visitors, Church congregations and other Stakeholders will be welcomed into the church to view the designs, supported by an exhibition booklet, ask questions and share comments in a short questionnaire.

The proposed schemes can be viewed below:

We are pleased that we can now share initial design ideas from these experienced architect-led teams with the Church, our Visitors and other interested parties in the city. The Evaluation panel who will interview the Architects later in the month, will be looking carefully to see how the design proposals have interpreted our requirements as a contemporary, faith-filled church family, worshipping in our Grade 1 listed building. Taking the feedback into consideration will be valuable, as we meet and make our final decisions regarding which Architect's team has the best fit with St Michael le Belfrey. Reverend Matthew Porter