Maggie's centres are renowned for their design focus. Credit: via LCC

Heatherwick design for Maggie’s takes top prize

Maggie’s Centre Yorkshire, at St James’s Hospital, took the project of the year title at the Leeds Architecture Awards, with four other designs winning category titles.

A total of 15 buildings and projects were announced over the summer as shortlisted contenders for the awards, which are a collaboration between Leeds Civic Trust, Leeds Society of Architects, Leeds City Council and RIBA.

Due to the Covid pandemic, this was the first time since 2019 the awards have been held, meaning the contenders came from across the last few years.

The winners were revealed during an event at New Briggate’s Howard Assembly Room.

Awards were presented in five main categories – new buildings (up to £10m in value), new buildings (£10m-plus), adapted buildings, cultural projects and public realm & landscape.

The respective category winners were Maggie’s Yorkshire Centre, the University of Leeds’s Sir William Henry Bragg Building, Opera North’s Music Works, Leeds Playhouse and Moortown Park.

Completing the roll call of winners, 11 & 12 Wellington Place was given a special sustainability award.

The three award judges were architects Natalia Maximova, Robert Evans and Charles Campion.

The full list of winners:

New Buildings (up to £10m in value) and overall project of the year winner: Maggie’s Yorkshire Centre, St James’s Hospital by Heatherwick Studio

Maggie’s cancer support centres are noted for design and this one was constructed using a prefabricated and sustainably-sourced spruce timber system. Inside, a mix of natural and tactile materials, soft lighting and variety of spaces all encourage social opportunities as well as quiet contemplation.

The judges said: “This is a warm, beautiful and welcoming place with an almost spiritual feel. It has a calmness and serenity which belies its surroundings, and attention to detail in its choice of materials and execution is exemplary.”

New Buildings (£10m-plus): Sir William Henry Bragg Building, University of Leeds by ADP Architecture

This seven-storey glass-and-steel complex off Woodhouse Lane is home to the University of Leeds’s Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Its high-tech teaching rooms and laboratories have been designed to further establish the university as a world-leading research centre, while also providing a welcoming, accessible and modern gateway into campus.

The judges said: “This is a very successful combination of new and old, uniting pre-existing post-war structures with a substantial contemporary insertion.”

Adapted buildings: Opera North’s Music Works by Enjoy Design

The £18m Music Works has given New Briggate and Harrison Street an extra cultural dimension with the opening of the Howard Opera Centre, complete with facilities such as an education studio, tuition rooms and orchestra rehearsal space. A dedicated box office and public atrium have also been incorporated into Opera North’s Howard Assembly Room.

The judges said: “The public part of the scheme provides a sequential journey from the box office to the assembly room. The atrium space is bold and the fittings carefully conceived.”

Cultural projects: Leeds Playhouse by Page\Park

The judges described the frontage as “visually arresting”. Credit: Jim Stephenson

This much-loved city centre theatre has been transformed by a reconfiguration and extension of the existing building, with a new frontage – featuring brightly-coloured ceramics – being created on St Peter’s Street. Extra seating capacity and improvements to access have also been delivered in the site’s two main performance spaces.

The judges said: “The creation of a visually arresting and yet practical new ‘front door’ achieves an important goal in reorienting the theatre towards the city centre and creates a physical manifestation of a rebranding of the theatre as a whole.”

Public realm & landscape: Moortown Park by re-form landscape architecture with the Friends of Moortown Park

This seven-acre park sits on a former corporate sports ground and provides a welcoming green space for visitors of all ages. Designed and developed to make the most of its underlying landscape, the park’s notable features include a deep woodland corridor, dog walking paths, grassy and flower meadows and a small wetland area.

The judges said: “This is an example of a well-designed (but not over-designed) flourishing and well-used urban park, which will only get better in future years.”

Sustainability: 11 & 12 Wellington Place by tp bennett

Design elements at 11 & 12 Wellington Place include a distinctive bridge and striking metallic bronze facades that mirror the stonework pattern of an adjacent grade two-listed railway lifting tower. Situated between Wellington Street and Whitehall Road in the city centre, the buildings run entirely on renewable electricity.

The judges said: “Many of the schemes entered for this year’s competition displayed excellent sustainability credentials, but this building sets a new standard for Leeds.”

Cllr Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, said: “Leeds is a city bursting with ideas and innovation, and nowhere is that more apparent than in its ever-changing skyline and array of eye-catching buildings, structures and spaces.

“The Leeds Architecture Awards are a fine way to recognise the work that is being done to make our city an even more attractive, inclusive and environmentally-friendly place to live or visit.”

Martin Hamilton, director of Leeds Civic Trust, said: “I know that the judges thought long and hard before choosing the winners – this reflected the incredibly high quality of entries this year. Leeds Civic Trust champions high quality architectural design, and there is no doubt that this year’s competition displayed these qualities in abundance.”

Special tribute was paid at the event to Mark Finch, the former director of real estate at Rushbond, the local developer noted for its work on restorations. Hamilton said: “It is hoped that his memory will live on through a prize at future awards ceremonies.”

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