Leeds Art University's new £22m building is opened
STAFF and students at Leeds Arts University are celebrating the opening of a £22m expansion of its Blenheim Walk Campus.
The new building includes a gallery, which opened to the public with an exhibition by Yoko Ono.
It has a cafe and a 230-seat auditorium designed as a performance space for the university’s new popular music performance degree course.
It also has a film and photography studios and a new specialist research and reference library alongside a new postgraduate study suite.
Paul King, lead project architect for DLA Design, said the new building includes flexible spaces open to all students and visitors to use.
Mr King said: "It was very important to us that students and staff from a diverse range of courses should have spaces they feel able to take over and not just remain behind closed doors in spaces allocated to them.
"We really wanted the common areas of the building to feel like you’re in a melting pot of ideas”
A piece of artwork was commissioned for a large feature panel overlooking the new main entrance.
The graphic design was done by by Sheffield-based design agency Peter & Paul and uses textile designs by past and present students, which is illuminated at night.
The design was painstakingly reproduced in sheet aluminium by Huddersfield based United Anodisers to produce a two-tone metallic finish.
Professor Simone Wonnacott, vice-chancellor, of Leeds Arts University said: “It is very rewarding to see our ambitious plans for the future of Leeds Arts University realised in the opening of our new specialist arts building, providing world-class studios and facilities for our students to help them fulfil their ambitions in the creative industries.”
The building officially opened with an exhibition by internationally renowned multimedia artist and peace activist Yoko Ono.
The exhibition - Yoko Ono at Leeds - features a series of installation-based works.
Originally founded in 1846, Leeds Arts University has been a rite of passage for some of the world’s most celebrated artists, including Barbara Hepworth, Damien Hirst, Danny Sangra and Thomas Houseago.