Client : City Square Developments
A Leeds landmark transformed.
The Majestic opened as a 2,400-seat super cinema in 1922. It was badly damaged by a fire in 2014 leaving a redundant shell and fragments of the Beaux-Arts style interior. Through a truly iterative process and the shared vision of the Project Team, Client, City Planners and Historic England, the iconic Grade II listed building has been re-imagined, reinterpreted and repurposed, given a new life to a much loved Leeds asset.
The Majestic presented a unique opportunity to evolve a new build intervention within the beautiful existing fabric of architectural faience, prolonging the useful life by creating a new chapter in the building’s history and transforming how a new generation of users can experience it.
From the outset the design approach sought to complement, rather than compete. Integral to this was the notion of re-interpretation – to pay homage to the building’s past whilst looking forward to its future.
The design preserves and enhances the existing external fabric whilst inserting a new 66,000 sq.ft. exemplary Grade A workspace within, across seven floors. The external aesthetic uses the existing building façade as a recognisable solid plinth from which a more delicate and diaphanous contemporary structure can emerge, designed to mediate between the Majestic and its neighbouring buildings. Reflecting the grandeur of the original interior, its elegance and style has been captured in various moments encountered throughout the new design.
Like the original design the building has a number of hidden gems for its occupants to discover, such as the grand Palm Court to the rear of the building which is a five storey, circular atrium topped with a glazed dome; a re-interpretation of the historic access arrangement of the original cinema.
The buildings cinematic past can be seen to have evolved with a thematic synergy with the Majestic been chosen as the new home of Channel 4, placing the Television network’s HQ in the heart of the city. The commitment to this reimagined building is a testament to the ambitious vision of the client, design team and indeed the Leeds City Region.
Winner – Game Changer – Yorkshire Property Awards 2020