LocationLeeds, United Kingdom
ClientDowning and Leeds Metropolitan University
Text description provided by the architects. Broadcasting Place is a mixed use development close to Leeds city centre.
Conceived as a public/private partnership for property group Downing and Leeds Metropolitan University, it provides approximately 110,000 square feet of new offices and teaching spaces together with 240 student residences in a landmark building rising to 23 storeys. A new Baptist Church completes the scheme on its northern edge.
The buildings are conceived as solid landscape forms which draw on Yorkshire’s rich geological and sculptural heritage. The lower buildings rise as a continuous rake from 3 storeys, adjacent to low rise listed buildings, up to 5 storeys. The taller buildings drop from 8 storeys down to 6 before rising to the scheme’s highest point of 23 storeys. The strong roof pitch is reflected in the massing of the buildings which have sharp triangular corners and angular cantilevered projections. Through this massive form, windows were conceived as the flow of water cascading through a rock formation. This design intent is reinforced by the selection of cor-ten steel as a solid, sculptural and weathering material, constructed as a rain-screen façade.
The development overcame difficult site challenges with a masterplan which manages an inner city motorway passing alongside whilst also enabling future growth. This is a key central Leeds location and a new public space linking key urban spaces forms a significant landscape element in the scheme.
A key success of the scheme is the innovative approach to the design of each elevation. We developed our own software programme to undertake a rigorous computational analysis of each small section of the building facades. The result is a varied appearance highly specific to this scheme, optimising daylight and reducing solar penetration.
Bold and beautiful, the building has made a big and positive impact on this area of central Leeds. What isn’t so immediately obvious is the innovation and research that went into its environmental strategy and the benefits this will bring over the coming years.
Paul Houghton, Director of Development, Downing
Broadcasting Place has already been described as the most notable addition to the Leeds skyline in decades.....As its oxidising surface weathers to a deep red colour – as the Angel of the North now has after ten years – its other virtues will become apparent: the environmental excellence of the design, the quality of its internal spaces, and the contribution it makes to Leeds as a walkable city.
Professor Chris Bailey, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Society