the box works

This scheme was prepared as part of a competition bid with GMI Property Company for the sensitive conversion of a historic landmark building on the edge of Leeds City Centre. Looking to preserve the grand atrium, sense of space and natural illumination afforded by the saw-tooth roof above, we proposed a scheme which utilised the existing floor plates to create dual-aspect units around the perimeter. Each unit would therefore have the benefit of overlooking the unique central atrium and the delight the naturally lit space offers.

To maximise the level of development so the scheme could stack up financially for GMI and therefore be viable, we embraced the opportunity to explore pod architecture. We developed the design of two pre-fabricated unit types. Each type could be repeated but with a interchangable “front wall”. This would allow the units to be manufactured off site and installed with ease on site while still creating a visually stimulating façade of stacking standardised components.

These back to back stacked pods would be positioned in the centre of the atrium up to and tied to the underside of the roof’s exposed steel trusses so the roof itself still sailed over the space but at ground floor created two more intimate courtyard spaces to either side. This installation would be clearly legible as a new entity and minimise the physical impact on the building as the pods could be removed and reused elsewhere, allowing the atrium to be restored to it original size in the future if necessary.