Leeds architects to create prototype for Holbeck Viaduct project

Architects in Leeds are set to create a prototype for the Holbeck Viaduct project in a bid to drum up financial support for a complete transformation.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 5:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 5:25 pm
What the Holbeck Viaduct could look like.

Edward Architecture has been appointed to help move forward the ambitious community scheme to turn the disused viaduct into a New York-style 'high line'.

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The Holbeck Viaduct Project wants to reopen the mile-long viaduct as a green public space for travel, events, growing and more.Built in the second half of the 19th Century, the structure - starting in the city centre near Granary Wharf and ending near the Farnley ring road - has been unused since 1988.

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What the Holbeck Viaduct could look like.

The project aims to re-open the viaduct as a thoroughfare linking Elland Road and Beeston to the city centre, with access points at Domestic Street and Holbeck Urban Village.

It is hoped that the prototype access point and show area, which will take the form of a 100m-200m area of track accessed by a stair tower in Holbeck, will show how Leeds could benefit should the project achieve enough support to be delivered.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn said “It’s a great document and a great vision, which I strongly support.”

The project will require around £80,000 of investment, plus pro-bono and community work.

The viaduct would include walking and cycling routes, with other ideas including community gardens, arts spaces, market stalls and an outdoor yoga studio.

The trial access area for the Holbeck Viaduct Project is set to open to the public as part of the ‘Leeds 2023’ international culture festival.

Graham Edward, managing director at Edward Architecture said: “We are delighted to be appointed on this exciting project designed to bring back to life an iconic Victorian industrial heritage site for public use.

"With the current growth and development of South Bank Leeds, the benefits would be significant by creating a linear urban oasis throughout the city of Leeds.

"Having visited the New York high line, which is fantastic, we can see the potential of an attraction like this which would link communities and stimulate regeneration.”

Andrew Cooper, chief executive of the Leeds Business Improvement District, said: “The Holbeck Viaduct Project is an inspiring and visionary placemaking proposal, that has the potential to connect the city centre to wider communities to the south of the city. LeedsBID, representing over 950 business organisations supports the aspiration of this initiative.”

Edward Architecture is working with other consultants such as structural engineers Adept, landscape architects Urban Wilderness and Brooks Ecological to ensure the project is well designed.

The team come up with ideas for where access points could be, how they would look and how they could work for everyone, including disabled access, without compromising the structure of the viaduct.

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