Sitting on the northern fringe of Leeds city centre by the elevated A64(M) inner ring road, this project is the first phase of a significant residential-led mixed use scheme which regenerates a former British Gas site. In order to create a new identity and composition for a familiar typology, the building’s new use, and the aspirations of the masterplan for the site, re-focuses the building away from the ring road and towards the wider site.
We created a new entrance at tower's base defining a new landscaped public realm, which connects to a new landscaped pedestrian route at the heart of the masterplan. The public foyer spaces at ground level engage with the landscape, while 190 hotel bedrooms occupy the remainder of the podium and tower levels.
Re-developing an existing building along the ring road presented us with a number of design challenges. In order to retain the existing concrete frame and integral structural perimeter upstands and downstands, we re-shaped the existing structure with a new linear volume which wraps over the podium and connects to the tower. This is visually expressed as two interconnecting volumes, a dynamic interaction between simple, bold forms. By using two distinct materials - a profiled salt-glazed dark terracotta with recessed windows and a dark titanium-finished panel with flush windows – the building’s envelope reinforces the new building composition, creating a contrast of solidity and skin, depth and surface, reflection and texture, within a uniform tone and palette.
The entrance to the hotel and the wider site at the western gable is highly visible, acting as a beacon at the end of the ring road underpass. This façade evokes a curtain, a metaphor for the former textile industry of the area and the theatrical nature of the hotel foyer, an element which becomes a sculptural and semi-permeable layer gradually revealing the hotel entrance. The curtain is dressed in gold deep-profiled terracotta, a material which echoes the rich Victorian detailing found throughout Leeds.
Due to the high level of pollutants arising from the heavily trafficked ring road, the building is designed to be fully mechanically ventilated.