Leeds has undergone many exciting regeneration projects in recent times, not least of which is Victoria Gate, part of the historic Victoria Quarter in the city centre. An impressive new development, Victoria Gate will bring top quality, designer brands to the centre and host the city’s first branch of John Lewis.
Combining modern engineering with heritage character
Phase one of the design is to construct three main buildings that, combined, will create a unique shopping and dining experience for visitors. The first structure is the flagship John Lewis store, which we have designed using the city’s famous textile heritage as inspiration. The second and third are two street arcades (collectively called the Victoria Gate Arcades), which link the existing Victoria Quarter with the new John Lewis store.
Street arcades are a striking and well known feature of the architecture in this part of the city centre, and we wanted to continue that theme in keeping with the local heritage. Our arcades will have stores, restaurants, cafes and leisure areas for shoppers and the business sector to enjoy.
Whilst capturing a sense of the city’s history, it has been imperative to consider environmental issues and incorporate solutions within the design. Heating has been a significant challenge; other arcades have to be heated in winter and cooled in summer and we wanted to avoid this, reducing the carbon footprint of the project and making the finished design more economical to maintain.
The glazed roof and bespoke prefabricated brick and terracotta cladding are not only sympathetic to the neighbouring stylish Victoria Quarter but also incorporate thermal modelling that has enabled natural ventilation. Our building services design will keep the buildings at a comfortable temperature all year round, allowing savings to be made and less energy to be used, making this a truly sustainable development.
The structure of the Arcades has been created using steel frames supported by a variety of stability structures, including concrete cores, moment frames and braced bays, and the scheme had to be designed to accommodate the existing Lady Beck culvert and a future tram route a feature of the local transport network.
Parking in Leeds has been problematic for some time, compounded by the complicated one-way system. Recognising this, the development at Victoria Gate includes a multi-storey car park that will accommodate up to 850 cars and also features bespoke cladding.