Spencer House – Leeds
On a busy corner of two pedestrian streets in Leeds centre, stands Spencer House, a three-storey building that was transformed by Bowman Riley with the introduction of 11 stylish new residences.
Following a fire in the 1980s, Spencer House was rebuilt in a red-brick style with architectural features that blend with the adjacent Edwardian listed buildings. It is occupied by a high street retailer on the ground and basement levels with the upper floors used only for storage.
Bringing city living to this prominent building has resulted in the commercially viable repurposing of the upper floors that had been underused as retail premises. Located within a tight urban site, the works had to be carefully managed whilst the retail store continued to trade.
Located within a conservation area, we remodelled the property carefully to ensure the changes remain subservient to the main building, its tower and spire to create a cohesive aesthetic respectful of the surroundings. We worked with the planning officer, heritage officer and Leeds Civic Trust to find harmony between a commercially viable development and one that respected its location.
The development retained the third-floor mansard roof but reversed the orientation of the dormer windows to increase floor space, head height and enhance liveable areas. Our design merged some of the dormer windows to create balconies. With full-height glazing, the interior spaces are flooded with light and offer impressive views across the neighbourhood. We took care with the stairway making use of the feature windows on the front façade and artwork on the walls to encourage residents to take the stairs promoting wellbeing.
We designed the apartments to fill a gap in the rental market bridging the space between unfurnished apartments and aparthotels. These impressive apartments target the higher-end of the market to cohabit alongside the influx of new student residences and young professionals in the city.
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