Retail therapy: Acme Architects design Leeds’ newest shopping haven
Leeds is gearing up to welcome an exciting new addition to its shopping scene – the Victoria Gate centre, designed by London-based Acme Architects and developed by retail specialists Hammerson. Opening its doors at the end of this year, the £165 million project will provide the northern city with a variety of luxurious retail units, lounges, restaurants, cafes and leisure spaces, all of which will be contained within the elegantly designed two-street wide arcade.
The architects were briefed to create a contemporary retail location, which would pay homage to the surrounding area’s heritage and Leeds’ 19th and 20th century historic arcades. They duly obliged. The building’s striking geometric façade drew inspiration from patterns found within Leeds’ rich textile history, while red clay bricks at the structure’s upper levels produce a playful three-dimensional effect.
White terracotta is used in the plinths framing the storefronts on Eastgate and George Street, with the remainder of the centre’s shop fronts constructed from a glazed black ceramic and curved glass, in keeping with the surrounding area’s traditional Victorian aesthetic. An ornamental roof with feature lighting provides plenty of light to the upper level of the arcade, which houses the centre’s restaurants and leisure areas.
The site, formerly known as the Harewood and Eastgate quarters, will total an impressive 42,000 sq m and the developers have set their sights on acquiring a BREEAM rating of excellence (the world’s foremost environmental assessment system for buildings). The team aims to achieve this through a series of initiatives, such as natural ventilation, integration of solar panels and by providing each of the centre’s tenants with a sustainability guide.