ISG starts work on £14m Leeds College of Art expansion scheme

ISG has started work on a five-storey extension at Leeds College of Art.

The £14 million project, which is the construction company’s first college project procured under the new YORbuild2 public sector framework, will see ISG construct a 65,000 sq ft extension which will connect to the existing Blenheim Walk building.

Designed by architects DLA Design, the steel frame structure will provide extra capacity and accommodate art, design and performance facilities as well as an enterprise centre to allow the college to engage with regional businesses. It will also comprise community spaces including a coffee shop and public exhibition gallery.

Featuring a façade including gold anodised curtain walling, translucent polycarbonate elements and insulated render panels, the building will also include a 230-seat auditorium, alongside music, film and photography studios. Acoustic performance is a key consideration in the new extension with acoustic baffles and rafts deployed within the high-specification interior fit out.

Andy McLinden, regional managing director for ISG’s UK Construction North and Scotland business, added: “Leeds College of Art has ambitious plans for its future development and these new facilities will provide the infrastructure to support significant expansion at the Blenheim Walk campus, and promote greater engagement with the local community.

“The use of the YORbuild2 framework has proved instrumental in getting this complex project from concept to site quickly to maximise efficiencies and drive innovation in the build process.”

The project is the largest capital investment the college has ever made and underpins its ambition to become the first specialist arts university in the North of England.

Professor Simone Wonnacott, principal, Leeds College of Art said: “This year promises to be just as exciting for the college as our 170th anniversary last year. As we move forward with our purpose-built expansion, and add new courses to our portfolio, we will attract more students to the city offering them a greater diverse mix of creative courses.

“Our new build project coincides with our application to become a university, which will see the College becoming the only specialist arts university in the North of England, which we hope to make an announcement about later in the year.”

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