ISG commences £14 million Leeds College of Art expansion scheme

9 March 2017

ISG has commenced work on its first college project procured under the new YORbuild2 public sector framework – a £14 million scheme to extend Leeds College of Art. This is the largest capital investment the college has ever made and underpins the institution’s ambition to transform itself into the first specialist arts university in the North of England.

The scheme sees ISG construct a circa 65,000 sq ft extension, up to five-storeys in height and connecting to the existing Blenheim Walk campus building. The steel frame structure will provide much needed extra capacity for the burgeoning college and accommodate art, design and performance facilities, as well as community spaces including a coffee shop and public exhibition gallery. An enterprise centre within the news building will also allow the college to engage more fully with regional businesses, and the local and wider communities of Leeds.

Designed by architects DLA Design, the extension will feature a striking façade including gold anodised curtain walling, translucent polycarbonate elements and insulated render panels. A central full height street provides flexible breakout space and allows light to flood into the heart of the building, with specialist facilities including a 230-seat auditorium, alongside music, film and photography studios. Acoustic performance is a key consideration in the new extension with acoustic baffles and rafts deployed within the high-specification interior fit out.

Professor Simone Wonnacott, Principal, Leeds College of Art said: "This year promises to be just as exciting for the College as our 170th anniversary last year. As we move forward with our purpose-built expansion, and add new courses to our portfolio, we will attract more students to the city offering them a greater diverse mix of creative courses. Our new build project coincides with our application to become a university, which will see the College becoming the only specialist arts university in the North of England, which we hope to make an announcement about later in the year."

Andy McLinden, regional managing director for ISG’s UK Construction North & Scotland business, added: "Leeds College of Art has ambitious plans for its future development and these new facilities will provide the infrastructure to support significant expansion at the Blenheim Walk campus, and promote greater engagement with the local community. The use of the YORbuild2 framework has proved instrumental in getting this complex project from concept to site quickly to maximise efficiencies and drive innovation in the build process."