New music library for Leeds’ cultural quarter

leeds-1 In 2017, Leeds College of Music will be moving their music library to the Quarry Hill Skyline building, dramatically increasing the resources available to their students, and opening up their impressive facilities to the public.

The new library will house Leeds College of Music’s huge vinyl archive and music collection, which includes over 30,000 items of printed music, 11,000 CDs, 700 DVDs and 9,000 LPs, as well as around 8,000 books. The two-storey development will also contain student learning spaces, staff offices, quiet and meeting rooms and I.T. and communications facilities.

The conservatoire has always been a key player in the Leeds cultural scene, championing relevant and innovative music education since its inception in 1965. Giving the public access to its unique music resource and enhancing Leeds’ creative resources was a significant focus of the project.

“The conservatoire already boasts numerous industry-standard studios, Mac labs, practice rooms and performance spaces, and is continually investing in resources for students and visitors” said Principal and MD, Gerry Godley. “In order to remain a leading player in the UK’s music education marketplace, it is critical that our facilities remain cutting edge and enhance our diverse and innovative offer. This new home for our library, and the creation of an additional stimulating place to study, will play a key part in achieving this. As part of our aim to be a centre of creative discovery for Leeds, I’m delighted that we’ll also be able to share our extensive collections with music lovers throughout the city.”

DarntonB3 Architecture is once again working with Leeds College of Music to devise and deliver a bespoke learning environment focused on enhancing the already exceptional student experience delivered at the conservatoire. Building on the successful working relationship developed during the realisation of the 2015 regional RIBA award-winning new entrance at Leeds College of Music’s Quarry Hill campus, the team have collaborated to create a dynamic design that represents the ethos and aspirations of the conservatoire.

DarntonB3 Director, Keith Hardcastle commented, “It is great to be involved in the development of such an exciting and important facility on behalf of Leeds College of Music. We have re-employed the same design principles that we applied to our previous award-winning project for the conservatoire and will focus all our skills on achieving the same high quality end result for this scheme.“

leeds-2Quarry Hill has become known as the Cultural Quarter in Leeds, and includes noteworthy cultural organisations such as the BBC, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet, Phoenix Dance and Munro House Arts Centre. LCoM moved to its current location in 1997 and The Venue, the conservatoire’s main performance space opened in 2003. The Skyline building opened in 2009 and comprises a 16-storey block providing a mixture of luxury apartments, but the ground floor has, until now, remained vacant. Having now secured planning permission, construction of the library will commence in January 2017, with completion anticipated for June 2017.

[EDITOR] : Leeds College of Music is the largest music conservatoire in the UK and offers Higher Education provision in Classical Music, Jazz, Popular Music, New Music, Folk Music, Songwriting, Film Music, Music Production and Music Business, as well as Further Education courses, short courses for adults and children and a Saturday Music School for young musicians.

The conservatoire also hosts a year-round schedule of events and performances, covering a broad variety of musical genres. Workshops and masterclasses are delivered by world-renowned industry professionals and performances from internationally-acclaimed artists feature alongside the conservatoire’s ensembles.

DarntonB3 Architecture is an architecture-led multi-disciplinary consultancy providing services throughout the UK and internationally. The firm has 9 UK offices and a further representative office in Dubai, UAE. Clients range across public and private sectors and the firm works on all scale of project.

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Anna Keogh