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Calls Architecture completes south Leeds church

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Calls Architecture has unwrapped this £805,000 church centre on the Belle Isle estate in south Leeds

The Leeds-based practice, which emerged from the embers of bankrupt outfit Allen Tod after it went into liquidation in early 2009, describes the United Reformed Church (URC) building as a ‘welcoming and accessible new community facility’.

Built on the site of a former church, the 686m² scheme features a triangulated brick spire terminates which marks the building as ‘a social centre of the community’.

The church has a super-insulated, wide cavity wall built from brick and lime render, while the interior features a ‘simple palette of timber, natural light and brickwork.’

The architect’s view - Stephen Dixon

Whether the recent riots are blamed upon social exclusion, social networks or a simple desire for new trainers, the underlying social disconnection goes far beyond the physical regeneration of our cities. This does not mean that urban regeneration has failed, or that we should stop trying to improve our cities, only that we should also strive to improve social cohesion, access to quality education and opportunities for the young to succeed.

The URC building is in an area considered among the most deprived in the country, and the success of this building will ultimately depend on how well it engages with the local community, and the sense of local ownership. This is a building born out of a real need for community engagement and its role in bringing local people together is a key part of its future.

Belle Isle is a large, disadvantaged neighbourhood of high density, but there have been very few regeneration projects in this area.  A local councillor recently commented at an opening event that the church was the ‘best new building’ in Belle Isle for years, to which the response came from the church that it is the ‘only’ new building in Belle Isle for years!

Our experience in Belle Isle has been one of great local pride in the area, and that improvements through physical regeneration can have an impact to enhance the sense of respect for the places in which we live and work.


Project data

Architects: Calls Architecture
Location: Belle Isle, South Leeds, West Yorkshire
Type Of Project: Place of Worship / Community
Structural Engineers: Jones Kingswell Partnership
Project Architect: Stephen Dixon
Design Team: Stephen Dixon, Rob Craggs, Bill Horry – Calls Architecture:
Jacqui Kingswell – Jones Kingswell Partnership; Jim Wild, Matthew Hill – Leeds Environmental Design Associates; Andrew Gaunt, Darren Procter – Bernard Williams Associates                               
Client: The United Reformed Church in South Leeds
Funding: Private
Tender date: 15 February 2010
Start on site date: 19 April 2010
Contract duration: 57 weeks  
Gross internal floor area: new build and refurbishment: 686m²
Form of contract and/or procurement: Traditional – SBC With Quantities 2005
Total cost: £805,000
M&E consultant: Leeds Environmental Design Associates
Quantity surveyor: Bernard Williams Associates
Planning supervisor / CDM Coordinator: Calls Architecture
Lighting consultant: Leeds Environmental Design Associates
Main contractor: Strategic Team Group
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: Roofing – Kalzip FalZinc, installed by Carlton Building Services; Bricks – Ibstock Birtley Olde English Buff; Windows / External doors: Supplied by Green Building Store; Self Coloured Lime Render: Supplied by Womersleys.
Sliding Folding Doors: by ID Systems

Ironmongery: by Allgood

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