Jewel-like addition to the building
Darntonegs Architecture for the Leeds College of Music
Contract value: £540,000
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.
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.