New vision for Leeds Tetley brewery site

GREEN SPACE: A play area will be one of the features of the scheme, which includes an art gallery and a four-storey atrium open to the public.
GREEN SPACE: A play area will be one of the features of the scheme, which includes an art gallery and a four-storey atrium open to the public.
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A vision into the future of one of Leeds’s most iconic buildings has been released by architects.

Plans for the future of the historic Tetley headquarters building in Hunslet will see Project Space Leeds (PSL) turn it into a contemporary art gallery, cafe, restaurant, educational rooms and workspace.

The most significant changes to the building, which will lead onto a 1.2 acre green space for at least the next five years, will see its four-storey central atrium opened up for the first time in decades.

The feature, which is effectively a column of space running through the centre of the building to flood it with natural light, will include a four-storey art wall for installations.

Simon Baker, managing director of Chetwood Architects Leeds, which designed the plans, said: “It will feel very light, very airy and generous – there isn’t a space like it in the city at the moment.

“It could spell an interesting five years for the city’s art scene.”

The refurbishment, which is set to open next spring, will also reopen some of the 1930s building’s original staircase which, along with the central atrium, was sealed off to create more space for offices in the 1960s.

Many original features, such as timber panelling, the war memorial and parquet flooring, will also be preserved or reused in the revamp, which is now well underway.

Mr Baker said: “We are trying to reclaim as much as we can so it won’t just be a historic building, it will be like a new place with a sense of heritage.”

Along with the building’s revamp, the Tetley site will host a 900-space car park for at least the next five years.

A series of new gates are also soon to be installed as the site is opened up to pedestrians before Christmas.

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Kerry Harker, director of the art charity PSL, recently presented the plans to 130 former Tetley workers at a Joshua Tetley Association dinner.

She said: “The response was really good, they really care about the building. A lot of them spent a lot of their working lives there and just want to know it’s going to be preserved and that the Tetley history isn’t going to vanish.”

She added that the insight of workers could inspire a permanent evolving exhibition of brewery mementos.

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