University Technical College (UTC) Leeds is a new education facility proving state-of-the-art engineering training for pupils from ages 14 to 18. The development converted the west wing of a Grade II listed Victorian working metal pressing factory built in 1888 by the resident company. Constructed from a steel frame, faced in red brick and punctuated by a rhythm of large arched and bullseye windows, glazed gables and roof lights, the building is a fine example of a grand industrial building and has been is iconic presence in the manufacturing heart of the city.
The philosophy behind the repair and conservation was to retain the existing original building fabric wherever possible, with the removal of recent less sensitive additions. Where current standards or new use of the building required new or replacement elements, these new additions were proposed in a contemporary style to contrast
whilst also complementing the original building. The vision was to create an inspirational space that would celebrate the heritage of the building whilst accommodating the brief through innovative design.
The design philosophy was to retain the original building fabric wherever possible, with the removal of recent less sensitive additions. Where current standards or new use required new or replacement elements, these were proposed in a contrasting contemporary style, complementing the original building. The vision was to create an inspirational space that would celebrate the heritage of the building whilst accommodating the brief through innovative design.
At ground floor the entrance and reception opens out into a triple height central space, surrounded by heavy engineering studios, IT suites and Workshops. Breakout project areas showcase student work and live assignments. This interior is designed to emulate the live working environment of an advanced manufacturing facility –
aiding the transition from education to employment.
The first floor accommodates science labs and a lecture theatre. A central stair rises dramatically up to the historic trusses, opening out into further open learning and feature ‘show and tell’ areas. Conventional classrooms sit at the upper level within the roof space.
The ‘historic/contemporary’ aesthetic is reflected in the interior treatment. The steel structure has been retained, restored and reinforced as a dominant feature. It stands over the space interwoven with cables and ducts that service the building, creating a machine-like engine hub interior.
The new educational facility is the first of its kind in the Leeds City Region, providing state-of-the-art training in advanced manufacturing and engineering, alongside conventional GCSE and A-Level Qualifications. It has it has succeeded in creating an inspiring space to learn and to teach. Its presence demonstrates an investment in both the region’s future engineers as well as the city’s industrial heritage. It is a home-grown enterprise from inception to completion that will lead the way for the next generation of industry professionals.
“The building is so inspirational and, with the retention of original features, is a teaching aid in its own right.”Mark Goldstone - UTC Leeds trustee and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce