The Creative Arts building will provide high specification facilities spaces full of character for the performing arts at Leeds Beckett University.
Hawkins\Brown have recently received planning permission for the new £75 million Creative Arts Building for Leeds Beckett University, in conjunction with development partner Downing Developments.
Leeds Beckett University required a new home for academic, creative and cultural activities in the civic heart of Leeds; bringing together the students of the Northern Film School, Music, Performing Arts and Fashion departments, who are currently spread across various locations. The aim is to attract new audiences and facilitate collaboration and dialogue between the University, its partners and the wider city. Central to the brief is the accommodation of 1,850 students and staff on different courses under one roof - the architectural ambition is to create an inspiring artistic and cultural hub. The University's aim is to enhance the transferable skills of their students through bespoke specialist facilities and collaborative social learning spaces.
“The Creative Arts Building will reflect the creativity, inspiration and dynamism of the subject areas for which it will be an exciting new home.”
Andrew Fryer Dean of School of Film, Music & Performing Arts, Leeds Beckett University
The new Creative Arts building, located at the edge of the Civic Quarter of Leeds, occupies a prominent site 10 minutes walk from the main cultural and retail amenities of the city centre. With Leeds General Infirmary to the West, the site is clearly visible from Millennium Square and is directly opposite the listed Civic Hall to the East. At the heart of our proposals is the building’s careful integration into its historic setting; this has been achieved through extensive consultation and liaison with the Planning Department.
The entrance foyer is designed as a welcoming, open space, accommodating a 4.5m level change across the site with a feature staircase that connects the publicly accessible areas of the building. An atrium that rises up to the fifth floor is animated by projecting social learning spaces, writing sheds and conversation dens. The lower floors of the building house a 186 seat theatre, a 64 seat studio theatre, a 216 seat cinema, recording studios, triple height TV and film studios, and other diverse teaching and breakout spaces.
“The new Creative Arts Building provides a hub that will encourage new collaborations between courses and enable the university to engage with wider society in cultural dialogue. Creating spaces for students, staff and visitors to interact and learn from each other was key to our design approach.”
Roger Hawkins Partner
The complexity and richness of the brief has generated an expressive building envelope. Architectural coherence is afforded by a façade palette of stone, bronze (coloured) anodized cladding and translucent polycarbonate. Material choices respond to the listed structures in the immediate context of the Civic Hall; along Portland Way and Calverley Street the façade acts as a framework communicating the activity and creativity within. In other locations the playful patterning reflects the rich mix of technical uses.