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The Spiracle was the winner of a design and bidding competition, so that will have been another entry. I prefer the Spiracle though, by a long way.
 

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Where did you hear that Ahmed? It was openly and extensively discussed and 'advertised' by Make Architects on the BBC Building Britain programme just a few months ago.
 

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Putting my optimistic hat on (as usual) (sorry Fred), HBG paid a lot for this site as it is a rare opportunity for a big central site close to the prime office quarter, and will have to pay a lot to remediate the site, so they will surely have to develop something of high value. The Spiracle is the whole identity of that development, so I find it quite unlikely that it will be removed from the scheme as there will only be a few rather ordinary plain office blockes left in the scheme, and image & identity are important for these sorts of large schemes these days. Also the embarrasment of having given it such a high level of publicity would be too great if it was to go; much more so than Mayfair. On that basis, I find it unlikely that the Spiracle would be cancelled now, but other cost saving measures could be being looked at for the scheme as a whole; 'value engineering' as it is known as.
 

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That is one massive development earmarked for Reading (a town about the size of Hull), who's tallest building by far is 17 floors. I wonder if it will happen?
 

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I agree about shame on the council for neglecting and loosing the central pool, for the meagre gain of another car park, budget hotel and office building, but in the council's defence the sacrifice was to be made for the Spiracle which would have been more worthwhile, but like every one else they were caught out by the most rapid property crash probably in living memory.
 

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From Architects Journal today:

Allies and Morrison's plans for Leeds Pool site clear first hurdle

Published: 03 September 2008 11:49 Author: Richard Waite More by this Author Last Updated: 03 September 2008 15:31

Allies and Morrison, and not careyjones, will take forward the redevelopment of the soon-to-be-demolished Leeds International Pool site.

Yesterday (2 September) Leeds City Council approved revised plans submitted by HBG Properties as part of the sale agreement for the authority-owned city-centre site, which currently houses John Poulson's now-empty 1960s swimming baths. Leeds-based careyjones was originally asked to draw up wider plans for the plot. However, HBG asked Allies and Morrison to take another look at the masterplan after the collapse of a proposed residential skyscraper at the heart of project. Back in April, the AJ revealed that the 24-storey Spiracle tower designed by Make had been pulled due to financial jitters on the part of HBG's then joint-venture partner, Fairbriar (AJ 24.04.08).

HBG, the authority's preferred developer, went back to Leeds Council with a reworked project, arguing that variations in the plans were needed 'due to the general decline of the global economy and the UK residential property market caused by the credit crunch'. It is understood careyjones will now only work on one part of the phased development – believed to be a car-park building. Once complete the scheme will provide 10,000m2 of offices, a 167-hotel, a car park, shops and a 'low level' café – which will effectively replace the Make skyscraper.

Author: Richard Waite.
 

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Could this low level cafe (which seems to be particularly focused on being "low level" be a short term temporary type structure which could easily be replaced with a tower if the economy recovers?
I was thinking something similar (ever the optimist) with this bit from the previous YEP report:

'Should the deal get the go-ahead, HBG would initially acquire at least 50 per cent of the site, which is on Westgate next to the inner ring road in Leeds city centre ... HBG would also have the option to purchase the remainder of the pool site in two phases over a five-year period.'

.. for the tower if the conditions are right in five years time?
 

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Here's the new major PreApp news for this site:

. Planning design by DLA Architects
. Applicant is Lisbon Street Developments Ltd

  • Two residential towers of 33 and 22 stories, with basement car parking
  • Student residential of 24 stories
  • Aparthotel of 15 stories
  • Outline planning for office building of 11 stories, with basement car parking
  • Major enhancement to the landscaping
  • Major upgrade to the footbridge provision over the inner ring road
Pre app report here:

1484798
 

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Would they also be set back to help reduce road traffic noise within the residential units? These applications do need a noise modelling assessment as part of the proposal.
 

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I love white towers, a massive improvement on dull grey/metallic grey, in white they look great from a distance on a sunny day.

I like this proposal, particularly the two BTR towers, but the student one looks pretty good too with such a high proportion of windows amongst the white. Will watch with interest.
 

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Well, the Pre-app meeting was interesting, DLA and a representative of the developer was in attendance to address the presentation. To be fair, the panel raised some reasonable points and seemed fairly balanced overall (with one or two exceptions), I think they are learning and evolving, perhaps listening to external commentators :)

The main points:

  • The panel was generally in favour of the scheme, and in acceptance of the mix of uses and the general massing of the scheme
  • They had issues with the layout of the public outdoor space (which makes up 55% of the overall area), in particular the access through the site to link with the footbridge, and the pathway that runs alongside the A58M
  • The architect stated they are working up the documents for a full planning application to be lodged in the next few weeks, with the aim to gain full approval by late summer, in order to start phase 1 this autumn, although they did state this was perhaps an optimistic outlook, but are wanting to start as soon as they can
  • Phase 1 would include everything apart from the office building (the office plot would constitute the site compound area during the phase 1 build period)
  • In addition, the developer stated they had operators lined up for the BTR, the Aparthotel and the Student accommodation (everything but the office)

 

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Is it two tone? or is the smaller building (darker tone) just in front of the taller building (which is staying in white?)
It appears to be the smaller tower is proposed to be a deeper colour shade, with the taller tower remaining the light shade. The report says it is in response to the comments that it could look like one big single block from some angles from Park Square, so the two shades separates the two towers.

It also says the deeper colour is nearer the conservation area, and the more contemporary paler colour is further out on the west side of the plot.
 

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I quite like the two residential blocks, the overall form looks quite good, including the differing shades to separate them, and the close up view of those finishes look quite decent and well detailed (from the image). With regard to the affect of the views of the historic business area around St Paul's St, Park Place, etc, the saving grace are the towers are generally slim end on to this area so presenting a slender tall form which looks fine.

The big gain for me is this is starting to spread the taller/denser part of the city centre away from the busy cluster around the Merrion area, which will help with the overall 'city' look for Leeds.
 

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This is coming before the plans panel at the 25 Nov meeting, with the recommendation to defer and delegate to planning officers. Hopefully with the ongoing discussions and ongoing alterations this will be in a position to be passed with certain conditions as required.
 

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Although most importantly the narrow elevation is facing east towards the sensitive old business district, St Pauls, Park Sq, etc. The blocky north/south facades will mainly only be seen from the inner ring road from the north, and mostly blocked by other large buildings from the south side, so not a problem in my opinion.

Altus has done the same with the narrow elevation facing the more sensitive Briggate and the wider elevations mostly dissipated with other buildings, which works very well in my opinion. I walked right past Altus today in the sun and still love it!

Also consider that most larger buildings do need some bulk to provide the required quantum of floor space, so if narrow in one aspect would need to be longer in the other to provide all the area required. They are often wider than we would like for this reason, but taller forms improve the proportion to look more slender.

 
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