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The Leeds Look


in the 80s and early 90s architects in Leeds were challenged to move away from the cold and insensitive building designs of the 1970s. In an effort to harmonise new building with Victorian brick built structures that surrounded them a style was introduced that was affectionately or more often mockingly labelled the ‘Leeds Look’. ⠀

The trend comprised of buildings being constructed using warm coloured brick rather than concrete, grey slate pitched rooves and included features such as juxtapositional towers, brick arches, protruding turrets and wooden roof corbels that were meant to mimic those of older brick warehouses.⠀

While the style was meant to be in keeping... the actual result was a collection of buildings that somehow were decidedly bland and, at the same time, conspicuously pronounced. Underwhelming and all at once eye catching. ⠀

The Leeds Playhouse was one of the last of the Leeds Look buildings to be constructed... but with special efforts being mustered to avoid bland infamy, it included TWO colours of brick, blue window frames instead of grey and a brick pattern on its tower... it was creativity at its finest.⠀

In 2019 the playhouse underwent a redevelopment. The major works were mainly focused internally and so the overall ‘Leeds Look’ remains... however, designers did fix one external flaw... they moved its front entrance to... er... the FRONT.⠀

That does deserve a standing ovation... but, now... encore, encore, ENCORE!


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