Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tower Works Visit

Tower Works connects the Round Foundry area to the Leeds-Liverpool canal, and on to the station via Granary Wharf. I went to the official opening/tour of Phase 1, by Bauman Lyons Architects, where a number of the original buildings (including the towers) have been restored and a new public square opened by the canal. The offices are packed full of character, views of the canal and the shallow floor-plate means they are naturally lit and ventilated from both sides. The windows know to open themselves when the building feels too hot... spooky.  

The detailing is sublime throughout the site. The material palette of brick, timber, copper and glass helps link the old and new buildings, while providing a photogenic architectural detail around every corner. The site still has a very 'Phase 1' feeling about it - there are lots of temporary street lights, railings and asphalt that should be gone in a few years when the final phases of the development are completed. More info at and

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Dark Arches

A weekend of school choirs chanting dressed in black, art students morbidly ringing bells and a fair bit of 'interpretive dance' deep in the brick arches below Leeds train station. Whilst the theme eluded most people, the arches showed their potential for a permanent arts and music venue; something that seems to have been the dream of architecture students for years. I was pleased to see people enjoying the atmosphere, the sounds of the river, the architecture and its lighting. Perhaps when Leeds station's south entrance is finished, the tunnels will seem more accessible for events like this in the future:


A wander along the canal afterwards gave me a chance to experiment with HDR photography. I dislike 90% of HDR photos - they usually look childish, surreal and often detract from the subject matter. But! When they are subtle, they can really enhance the image. The fantastic Tower Works development by Bauman Lyons is a mixed use canalside scheme that restores the famous 3 ornate 'Italianesque' towers. What looks like the first phase, an office building, sits behind the larger 2 towers in this image (below) - and HDR here achieves exactly what it is supposed to: a 'high dynamic range' of colours. It means that the colours of bricks in the towers stand out without the sky becoming white-washed in the background. The cute timber-clad balcony of the office building is a great contrast to the tones of the surrounding brick, and HDR helps exaggerate this contrast. The second phase, a residential scheme, looks to be mainly clad in this material, so I will have to come back in a few years time to document the development when it's completed.