Sectors : Learning

Client : University of Leeds

Grade 2 listed, Parkinson Building is a landmark in Leeds and every year forms an iconic backdrop for thousands of students’ graduation photos.

Unfortunately despite being a major focal point for student and visitor gatherings, the steep front steps, poor lighting, lack of handrails and tactile features, have for many years also meant that the main entrance is not accessible for some students and staff.

This project originated in a University desire to ensure all visitors, students and staff were able to enter this iconic building via the same entrance, have the same experience and be equally inspired.

Having worked closely with the Local Authority Conservation Officer to develop proposals sympathetic to the listed building, the entity of the steps have now been replaced in Portland Stone to match the original finish, but with the introduction of tactile warning surfaces carved into the stone, and visually contrasting strips provided to the stair treads in high quality granite.

New handrails and a new central balustrade have also been added in brass to match existing ironmongery along with additional lighting, whilst a new lift tower will finally render the building entrance accessible to wheelchair users in time for the start of academic year 2019.

The lift tower is constructed in Portland Stone, and includes cladding details inspired by the detailed ironmongery and ornate fretwork on the main entrance doors to the building, achieving an end result that is both crisp, modern and most importantly functional, whilst still in keeping with the historic context.