Two other Yorkshire projects also achieve recognition in the RIBA Awards
The winners of The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards have been unveiled, with Victoria Gate Arcades among the 49 new builds recognised for "significant contributions to architecture"
Designed for Hammersmith PLC by ACME and Sir Robert McAlpine, the shopping centre opened last October as home to upmarket brands such as John Lewis, & Other Stories, and Anthropologie; bolstering Leeds status one of the country's top retail destinations.
Official RIBA statement
"Leeds is one of the major cities in West Yorkshire, rich in its history of trade and commerce. Initially defined by the woollen cloth trade during the 18th century, it is now set to become one of the prominent cities of the north, rich in commerce and educational institutes.
Victoria Gate is located at the east end of the main artery The Headrow, in Leeds city centre, and forms a natural extension of the Victoria Quarter and Leeds retail district. The main activity of this area is defined by the retail quarter and the Victorian arcades which are believed to be some of the finest examples of this kind.
The proposed Victoria Gate builds upon this legacy of quality arcade, with its rich, ornate approach, with a contemporary interpretation of layering decorative motifs generated through geometric patterns as found in the surrounding arcades. This is a celebration of the opulent ‘glitter’ of consumer society with its ‘cathedral’ like scale, structural complexities, grand vistas and promenades linking the city through from West to East and completing what was once seen as an undefined edge to the city.
Given the nature and the complexity of the events, and diversity of clients, likely to occupy the spaces, specific detailed spatial arrangements would prove to be difficult to control. However the general choreography of the public spaces demonstrates a consistency of detailed resolution and confirms the design team’s key objective: ensuring the integration of the new Victoria Gate centre provides a staged transition from the Victorian brick and terracotta clad building to the new edge defined by the contemporary pleated façade of the car park. The design weaves in a number of narratives relating to 19th century arcades, with the theme of the ‘Woven’ façade of John Lewis, with reference to the early history of the wool trade through contemporary geometric patterns.
Victoria Gate responds to the challenges of delivering a successful large scale building with a consistency of crafted feel which uses contemporary methods in developing design through to production, extending the architectural discourse on design and production of architecture in the digital age."
Other local nods include awards for Sheffield's Blackburn Meadows Biomass , a striking new landmark in the place of the recently demolished Tinsley Cooling Towers which stands as a symbol of sustainability, and phase one of Derwenthorpe - a new community, based two miles from York city centre, focused on affordable, attractive, and eco-friendly housing.
All three projects go on to be considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize, named after architect James Stirling, and awarded to the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year. Previous winners include London's Gherkin and Gateshead's Millennium Bridge, but was awarded to a Yorkshire building in 2001 when a disused steel mill was repurposed as Rotherham's Magna Science Adventure Centre .