Location: Leeds
Date: 2012-2016
Status: Completed
Size: 800-space car park
Credits: ACME (Julia Cano, Stefano Dal Piva, Catherine Hennessy, Lizy Huyghe, Friedrich Ludewig, Penny Sperbund, Keigo Yoshida)
Victoria Gate is located at the eastern edge of Leeds City Centre, replacing a brutalist 1960s police station by a busy roundabout. Public transport in Leeds leaves much to be desired, so for the immediate future, ease of access by car and the availability of parking are of vital importance to bring people back to the city centre.
The building mass is a major landmark for the passing traffic, seen from large distances when approaching the city from the east.
The building sits adjacent to a major new department store, which has a strong diagrid façade expressed in reconstituted stone. The parking façade reinterprets the diagrid motive into an open performative skin, providing natural ventilation and daylight while producing a recognizable identity. Anodised aluminium fins produce an interplay of light and shadow that appears as a diagonal grid pattern when seen from afar.
The diagonal patterns is achieved through twisting and rotating the vertical fins. There are four different twists to the fins, and nine different fixing brackets across the façade. The result is a façade that may appear complex, yet is formed from the simplest possible components, open and well ventilated from the inside, yet visually interesting from the outside.