Yorkshire’s most outstanding architecture is celebrated

First Direct Arena in Leeds.''Picture: GilesRocholl

First Direct Arena in Leeds.''Picture: GilesRocholl

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FROM A £60m arena to the boutique tree top events space inspired by an aviation pioneer, eight “outstanding” Yorkshire buildings were recognised for their architectural excellence at a prestigious ceremony last night.

The winners at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Yorkshire Awards included the First Direct Arena in Leeds, the Blackburn Wing in Wetherby, and an extension to Leeds College of Music’s entrance, which was also handed the Small Project Award.

“High levels of craftsmanship and restrained and expert detailing” in the Sheffield Cathedral Gateway Project led it to pick up the Building of the Year award, alongside the conservation award.

Sheffield Hallam University’s £27m Heart of the Campus scheme, and the city’s Sum Studio, which saw an abandoned listed building transformed into office space were also winners.

Two private homes were also celebrated, the Knitters House in Holmfirth, and Ben Rhydding Road in Ilkley.

Director for RIBA Yorkshire and 2015 Awards Lay Assessor Emma England said: “There’s a huge diversity in the range of award winners this year, from the first direct arena in Leeds, a boutique tree top events space and two stunning private houses, showing that good architecture is possible at many different scales. I’m especially proud that six out of the eight winners are architects from the Yorkshire region.

The'' Blackburn Wing conference and events centre, Wetherby, was  inspired by aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn.

The'' Blackburn Wing conference and events centre, Wetherby, was inspired by aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn.

“The ambitious Sheffield Cathedral Gateway Project won the Building of the Year Award due to very high levels of craftsmanship and restrained and expert detailing. The extent of this work isn’t instantly obvious, such as re-laying the entire floor and new services, but the clever re-design of the building entrance has made the Cathedral fully accessible for the first time in it’s history.

“At the other end of the spectrum is the Leeds College of Music extension, winner of the Small Project Award. This project has unlocked space within the building, transformed the public space outside and created a beautiful gold jewel-like addition to the front of the building, all on a relatively small budget. This shows that a commitment to good design invariably returns value.”

The winners will now be considered for a national award, announced on June 19.

The eight winning buildings are:

Ben Rhydding Road, Ilkley by Halliday Clark Architects;

First direct arena, Leeds by Populous;

Leeds College of Music Entrance Extension, Leeds by Darnton EGS Architects;

The Gateway Project Sheffield Cathedral, Sheffield by Thomas Ford and Partners;

Heart of the Campus, Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield by HLM Architects;

Sum Studios, Sheffield by Studio Gedye;

The Blackburn Wing, Wetherby by The Harris Partnership;

The Knitters House, Holmfirth by Prue Chiles Architects

A further six Special Category Awards were presented to:

The Gateway Project, Sheffield Cathedral - RIBA Yorkshire Conservation Award;

Sum Studios – RIBA Yorkshire Sustainability Award sponsored by SIKA;

Leeds College of Music New Entrance Extension - RIBA Yorkshire Small Project Award;

Jonathan Turner from the Bayford Group for the Blackburn Wing - RIBA Yorkshire Client of the Year Award;

Howard Evans (Prue Chiles Architects) – RIBA Yorkshire Architect of the Year Award;

The Gateway Project, Sheffield Cathedral - RIBA Yorkshire Building of the Year Award.

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