Leeds College of Music

Jewel-like addition to the building

· Credit: Daniel Harvey

Darntonegs Architecture for the Leeds College of Music

Contract value: £540,000

GIA: 405m2

Small project award

The College of Music serves as an example of how an insightful architect and open-minded client can opportunistically seize a relatively small-scale opportunity to catalyse a significant wider transformation. Starting as an internal reorganisation to make better use of limited existing space on a constrained urban city site, it went on to rework the understated existing entrance. This move not only unlocked the internal spaces and circulation areas as lively hub of student activity, but also created a main entrance and foyer for public performances, so re-presenting the college to the city.

  • · Credit: Daniel Harvey
  • · Credit: Rory Campbell Pilling
  • · Credit: Daniel Harvey

This jewel-like addition to the front of the building, stealing just a few metres of poorly defined public space, is not only a bold statement of the college’s presence, but also manages to structure a small urban place between it and adjacent buildings. Crisp detailing of the materials, and the judicious use of golden planks to the soffits, create a gravitas that belies the modest scale of the project.

This is an example of how an architect, by going beyond the brief, can deliver beyond expectations even on a small budget.

See other winners in the RIBA Regional Awards 2015 – Yorkshire