University of Leeds Fine Art - ADP
Students of the Fine Art discipline at the University of Leeds have been given a beautiful new home. The building, which dates from 1915, when it was designed to house Agricultural Sciences, has undergone a £7.6 million refurbishment, designed and overseen by ADP.
The historic features of the art deco inspired building have been retained everywhere that it was feasible to do so. This includes the retention of cornices, doors, stairs, windows and railings, which MA student Helen Roddis says are ‘vital to preserve’, as ‘the historic fabric of a building is important’. Helen, along with other students on the MA Arts Management and Historic Studies course, have been recording the different stages of the refurbishment as part of their degree programme. They held an exhibition, aptly named Relocation, in early December 2015, showcasing the unique heritage of the building.
The upgrade to this staple building in the University of Leeds estate has included the retention of the glossy emerald panelling along the staircase, a real defining feature of the building, which was protected during the construction work to ensure it came to no harm throughout the process. The windows have all received a second glazing, geared towards preserving the aesthetics of the original outer windows by adding to their design instead of altering it.
There are particular difficulties that come with fitting out a 1920s edifice for modern usage, and not least of these is how best to hide the miles of cabling that’s required to bring the facility into the technological age. The results are subtle and elegant, however, and ensure that the Fine Art building is not only a fantastically poignant and historic place to learn, but is well equipped to offer students all the amenities that an outstanding modern research centre should.