An innovative new multi-purpose building, led by Leeds Beckett University’s Project Office and set to enhance the lives of New Wortley residents, is on track for completion next month.
The project received a grant of £686,674 from the Big Lottery Fund last year, with the new building being based on designs by Leeds Beckett Architecture graduate Vahagn Mkrtchyan.
Located on part of New Wortley’s existing community centre site on Leeds’s Tong Road, the new centre is expected to be completed on Wednesday 20 April and will open to the public a few weeks later. It will house the majority of the centre’s services including the café, meeting rooms and shop. It is planned that the existing building will be refurbished and used as a wellbeing centre.
Students from across the University’s Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology have been involved in bringing to life the new building, including those studying Architecture, Graphic Arts and Design, Landscape Architecture and Design Product.
Founded and managed by Architecture lecturers, Simon Warren and Craig Stott, the Project Office was formed as an architectural consultancy in January 2014 and sits under the umbrella of Leeds Beckett University’s School of Art, Architecture and Design (AAD). It gives Architecture students at the University a chance to work with real clients, producing built and strategic design solutions with a particular emphasis on ethical, social and resilient architecture.
Simon commented: “We are on track to complete the centre on time and on budget. There’ll be a period after the handover when finishing touches are being made with our students’ fit out projects, including the reception area and the centre’s artwork, and then there’ll be a formal opening, which is planned for July.
“Leeds Beckett Architecture students have had input into the centre alongside the Project Office from original design concepts, community consultation to the upcoming completion.”
Leeds Beckett staff and students from architecture and design-related courses recently attended an event alongside guests including Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed and local MP Rachel Reeves which celebrated New Wortley and all that has been achieved by the community to become a beacon of grass roots empowerment.
“Our students displayed and discussed their ongoing work at the event and there were tours of the nearly finished buildings,” added Simon.
“The main event was a formal meeting where locals told their stories of living in New Wortley and I think the students realised that the impact of working on a project like this might be quite significant. It’s going to make a real difference to the people who will use the centre.”