Donald Insall Associates opens York studio

Donald Insall Associates will reinforce its deep connection with the north by opening a studio in York in May. Founded in 1958, Insall has been instrumental in helping local authorities, English Heritage, the National Trust and private individuals alike to ensure a future for the UK’s built heritage for generations to come. With sustainability as a growing concern, the practice’s longstanding commitment to combining expertise in restoration, reuse and remodelling with creativity comes at the perfect time.

The variety of past and potential projects in the area – from small villages to city centres, from grand estates to disused industrial buildings – has proven irresistibly attractive both in terms of breadth and the unique challenges each site presents to mobilise the practice’s knowledge and innovation.

Insall’s York studio – which will act as a base for the north and north-east of England – is our ninth office in the UK and will be headed up by Tom Bromet, of late an Associate in its London office. He has been working on a number of projects in the north in recent years:

  • ongoing conservation work and repairs to, and redevelopment of, Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham;
  • redevelopment of the estate buildings at the 14th-century Raby Castle near Darlington;
  • Conservation Management Plan and repairs to the York City Walls.

The posting to York is also a homecoming for Bromet, who was born and educated in Yorkshire. A committed champion of reducing climate impact, he chairs Donald Insall Associates’ Sustainability Group, and is putting his ideals into action with his own house – a farmhouse and barn in the Dales which he is in the process of adapting for his young family. Believing fully in the sustainability potential of historic structures, Bromet is utilising innovative technology in his own home to demonstrate the viability of retrofitting old buildings for modern life.

The York studio will work in close collaboration with Associate Director Dorian Proudfoot of the firm’s Chester office, who brings expertise in both historic buildings and modern construction methods, along with experience of specialist conservation skills. In his 10 years with the practice, Proudfoot has been involved with a major project to increase public access at Chester’s Grade I listed Cathedral and the conversion of Grade II listed 19th-century Oakfield House into a popular pub at Chester Zoo. He is currently leading on multiple projects at Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse in South Yorkshire including the planned redevelopment of the Grade II* listed Camellia House, on which he and Bromet will continue to collaborate.

A firm foothold in the Northeast will allow Insall to build on the knowledge it has gained over the decades of both local building materials and the craftspeople on whose expertise the practice relies. Recent local projects – ranging from Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster to Hardwick Old Hall in Derbyshire – are a certain inspiration. But on a smaller scale, is their planned conversion of disused industrial buildings on Grimsby Docks into creatives studios – the perfect demonstration of the our core belief that change is inevitable and that buildings must be sensitively, sustainably and sometimes creatively conserved to ensure their future.

Contact our York office now