Alumno, the specialist student accommodation developer, has officially opened a striking mixed-use six and seven-storey building in Leeds that will provide accommodation for the city’s growing student population and features an onsite Asian street food restaurant.
The Terry Frost Building, named after the celebrated abstract artist who taught at Leeds College of Art, was designed by architects Howarth Litchfield, built by GMI Construction Group and project managed by RPS Group. The new 11,955 square metre project on Whitelock Street in the Sheepscar district of the city has regenerated a run-down, disused site and comprises 105 units that will house 411 students. Facilities include a range of communal areas, including a central hub, gym, cinema, laundry room, roof terrace with a garden and extensive secure bicycle storage.
“Sheepscar was a thriving Irish quarter with many industries including coal extraction, brickmaking and, perhaps most notably, Burmantofts Pottery nearby,” explained Jonathan Yates, Managing Director at Howard Litchfield. “The predominance of brickwork in the facades is a clear reference to this urban, industrial and artisan heritage and celebrates the former clay pits to the west. We are delighted with how the design has evolved, which cascades down from west to east to the dramatic prow at the Sheepscar Interchange creating a new landmark gateway for the northern city and offering spectacular views of the city to the south.”
As part of its ongoing commitment to the communities living adjacent to its projects, Alumno has commissioned artworks that have been integrated into the public areas surrounding the development. The atrium features a large frieze based on an abstract painting by Frost. Inspired by Frost’s work, Yorkshire-based poet Zaffar Kunial has written a poem cast into the brickwork at the building’s entrance. Meanwhile, Kunial’s work based on the ‘hidden river’ Sheepscar Beck, which runs to the rear of the site before disappearing under Leeds city centre, is built into the retaining wall of the development’s ‘eternal rain garden’ where ceramics by local artist Ameila Wood will also be permanently displayed.
At the recent opening event, Frost’s son Anthony unveiled a plaque in honour of his late father. Specially commissioned photography on Leeds by Peter Dench is also on display, along with work from finalists of Photo North, an annual photography exhibition and student competition sponsored by Alumno. Cocktails and refreshments were provided by a local distillery and brewery.
“We have been creating student accommodation around the UK for over 15 years and are delighted to be opening our latest completed project in Leeds,” said Alumno Managing Director David Campbell. “Whitelock Street is the perfect location due its proximity to the universities and city centre, and we believe this development will be a great addition to the Sheepscar district and offer significant regeneration benefits. It will also make more housing available to local people by alleviating the need for students to rent family homes privately in the area.”
Andrew Hurcomb, Divisional Managing Director Yorkshire, from GMI Construction, said: “We are exceptionally proud to have delivered this landmark development as part of our ongoing and successful relationship with Alumno. The Terry Frost Building is helping to set the standard for purpose-built student accommodation, which is sustainably designed and built to meet the needs of Leeds’ growing student population.”
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