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First look: Acme's Victoria Gate shopping arcade in Leeds

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The AJ has taken a tour around the much-anticipated £165 million Victoria Gate development in Leeds which is nearing completion

The high-end shopping scheme for Hammerson features an arcade block - a modern reinterpretation of the famous Victoria Quarter across Vicar Lane - as well as a 24,000m² John Lewis flagship store and a car park for more than 800 cars.

The huge city-centre project is set to open this autumn and features a mega-casino designed by Fuse Studios.

Hailed by Hammerson as a ’step change in Leeds’ retail, dining and leisure offer’, the scheme will be the second major shopping centre to complete in the city in the last three years, and follows on from the success Chapman Taylor’s Trinity scheme.   

Photographs by Martin Priestley

ACME's £165million Victoria Gate scheme in Leeds which is nearing completion

ACME’s £165million Victoria Gate scheme in Leeds which is nearing completion

Source: Martin Priestley

Cladding on the John Lewis store

Architect’s view

‘The design of the Victoria Quarter Arcades is based on twin two-storey curving arcades with a shifting roofscape, consisting of two linear routes and special moments of ornate geometry or great height at either end, where the two arcades are entered and conjoin. Externally, the scheme is seen as a single urban block broken by the arcades’ entrance. It has a single facade that takes inspiration from the highly decorative and three-dimensional facades of some of the city’s Victorian Quarters, consisting predominantly of a pleated brick which changes in rhythm and scale to respond to the immediate context.

‘A second material emerges within the facade at corners and entrances, terracotta to the south and stone to the north break the overall massing. The project will explore both these materials, as well as brick, creating patterns that work on multiple scales, changing perceptions from close and afar.

‘The John Lewis store also acts as a reflection of Leeds’ history and context. Ornamental panels of terracotta will be produced by CAD/CAM equipment based on existing patterns found in the city’s famous County Arcade. The facade will be fabricated offsite and transported, maximising quality and minimising waste.

‘A significant number of different ways of cladding the Victoria Gate car park were considered to allow for natural ventilation and create an interesting facade deliverable within the budget constraints. The proposed anodised aluminium twisted fins give a sculptural facade that has been manipulated in order to create a visual effect relating to the John Lewis facade language.’

How Acme's Victoria Gate Arcades will look once complete

How Acme’s Victoria Gate Arcades will look once complete

Interior - how Acme’s Victoria Gate Arcades will look once complete

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