Leeds School of Arts\

Inspiring collaboration and cultural dialogue

Leeds School of Arts provides characterful, high-specification facility spaces for creative arts at Leeds Beckett University.

Leeds Beckett University required a new home for its academic, creative and cultural activities. Situated in the civic heart of Leeds, the new School of Arts building brings together students from the Northern Film School, Music, Performing Arts and Fashion departments, who were previously spread across various locations.

The building plays a vital role in attracting new audiences and collaborations between the University, its partners and the wider city. Accommodating up to 1,850 students and staff from different courses under one roof, the building is an inspiring artistic and cultural hub. Through bespoke, specialist facilities and collaborative social learning spaces, Leeds School of Arts aims to enhance the transferable skills of all its students.

Located at the edge of the Civic Quarter of Leeds, the new School of Arts building 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 design is the building’s careful integration into its historic setting, achieved through extensive consultation and liaison with the Planning Department.

“The new building provides a hub that encourages new collaborations between courses, and enables the university to engage with wider society in a 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 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 façade uses a palette of stone, bronze (coloured) anodized cladding and translucent polycarbonate, chosen as a response 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.

Project Summary

Project Team

Structural and Civil Engineer:Alan Johnston Partnership
Services Design:WSP
Landscape Architect: Gillespies
Auditoria Design:charcoalblue
Acoustic Engineer:AEC Ltd
Fire Engineer: Omega Fire
Quantity Surveyor: SUM Ltd
BREEAM:Hoare Lea


  • AJ100 2022 - Building of the Year - Shortlisted

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