Leeds landmarks have designs on award ceremony success

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FAMOUS Leeds landmarks today had their sights set on winning a prize that would represent a truly towering achievement.

The annual Leeds Architecture Awards are being held this evening in the historic surroundings of Leeds Town Hall.

It is the 25th anniversary of the event – and, to mark the occasion, organisers are giving away a one-off prize for outstanding contribution to architecture and design in the city.

All 94 winners recognised during the lifetime of the awards have been whittled down to a 12-strong shortlist.

The dazzling dozen include the Corn Exchange, Victoria Quarter, Millennium Square, Broadcasting Place, Princes Exchange and the Henry Moore Institute.

Matthew Lovell, director and buildings practice leader for design firm and award sponsor Arup, said: “We are proud to say that we have been involved in many schemes which have won an award over the years.

“Seeing the breadth and scale of the nominees for the 25th anniversary is a great reminder of the high standards in terms of design and quality that exist in the city.

“It also reminds us of our responsibility to continue that tradition, whether it is creating new, cutting-edge and interesting spaces or helping to preserve the city’s architectural heritage.”

The awards are organised by Leeds City Council and Leeds Chamber Property Forum. Tonight’s ceremony will also see its usual range of annual prizes handed out in a range of different categories.

Contenders include the First Direct Arena (new building), Michael Marks Building (new building), Holbeck’s Tower Works (altered and conserved building) and New York Road’s Crispin Lofts development (altered building). Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s lead member for economy and development, said: “What the 2013 nominees and the 25th anniversary shortlist demonstrate, is that, whilst we can deliver landmark buildings on the grand scale, that we are just as good at creating smaller, more personal spaces and breathing new life into our historic buildings.”

Andrew Latchmore, chair of Leeds Chamber Property Forum, added: “Looking back over the last 25 years, the competition has mapped the progress Leeds has made in moving from being the city of limited architectural ambition of the 1980s to becoming the vibrant city it now is, where people want to come to work, live and relax.”

Judges for the event include expert representatives from the Leeds Society of Architects, Leeds Civic Trust and Royal Institute of British Architects.

The very first recipient of a Leeds architecture award was the Church of St Joseph, in Westgate, Wetherby, back in 1987.

Well-known buildings and locations such as the Royal Armouries and Kirkstall Abbey are among those that have been recognised in the ensuing years.

But there have also been awards for less obvious choices, including Whincup Gardens sheltered housing scheme, Meanwood C of E Primary School and seating on Albion Street.

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