Leeds Arts University

£22 million




Leeds Arts University




DLA Architects


Engineering design services





About Leeds Arts University

In 2015 we were appointed by Leeds College of Art to deliver full MEP design and building performance services for a five-storey extension. As part of their ambition to become the only specialist Arts University in the North of England the college wanted to expand their campus to encourage creativity and attract students. In 2017 they were awarded University status.

The £22m project which recycled an existing asset of a car park is the largest capital investment the college had undertaken. The goal was to provide new state of the art facilities that befitted its new title and included:

  • 230 seat auditorium
  • Film studio
  • Music recording studios
  • Photography studios
  • Specialist arts library
  • Public exhibition gallery
  • Teaching and support areas
  • Coffee shop/cafe
  • Quality engagement and collaboration with the University, incumbent service specialists and stakeholders


The building was designed with a number of sustainability features to achieve BREEAM Very Good, including:

  • Natural ventilation strategy
  • Photovoltaics
  • Water saving measures
  • LED lighting
  • Variable Air Volume (VAV)
  • An energy rating report was also provided with advice on how to achieve targets and comply with SBEM, Building Regulations and the Leeds Core Strategy Plan.

There were a number of challenges on this project including the diversion and integration of existing services to serve the new extension as they were underneath the car park. We detected these during initial surveys to enable the diversion of the services prior to building works starting.

The site also posed specific problems due to its proximity to main roads, buildings and housing, which had to be considered in the proposed design.

The existing building remained constantly occupied during works. Isolations were planned to minimise as much impact on building users as possible, Out of hour shutdowns and noise sensitive works were arranged to take place outside normal hours. Specific delivery conditions of equipment and road closures were also coordinated with the university planning officer and Leeds City Council.

This project was shortlisted for' Best Building' at the 2019 RIBA Yorkshire Awards.