Tower Works

Industrial evolution at the waterside

Tower Works is a mixed-use development that sensitively regenerates a former industrial site in central Leeds. Located in a conservation area on the historic Leeds to Liverpool canal, the site features several listed buildings, including three elegant Italianate towers with surviving chimneys erected by a well-travelled Victorian industrialist. The project involves a rich mix of apartments, workspace, leisure and retail spaces that creates an active and thriving new community. Our masterplan dedicates half the site area to permeable public realm, including a new square that welcomes everyone into the heart of this new destination for the city.

Tower Works
Project info
  • Location Leeds, UK
  • Client Carillion (Maple Oak) Ltd
  • Year 2017
  • Status Built

Tower Works is a key part of the redevelopment of Leeds’ South Bank, a large area south of the River Aire that includes the districts of Holbeck and Hunslet. For many years the area was characterised by derelict industrial buildings, many of which were historic and in need of major restoration.

Our competition-winning design sits within the Holbeck Urban Village, a conservation area home to several listed buildings, including the three 19th-century towers that belong to Tower Works, a former factory that made tools for the textile industry. The design of these Italianate towers – named Giotto, Verona and Little Chimney – were heavily influenced by Victorian industrialist and Tower Works founder Thomas Harding and his love of Italian architecture and art. Only the towers and a few perimeter walls remained of the former factory, but these were all integrated into our design.

The scheme is residential-led, with a wider mix of supporting uses including workspace, leisure and retail spaces. A total of 245 apartments across a series of carefully choregraphed buildings work with the existing geometry of the site and the listed structures. The project demanded careful consider of how a dense modern redevelopment could be sympathetically integrated with the existing historic structures on the site. Great care has been taken in developing the masterplan to ensure that the new development is deferential to the listed buildings, and respects key views from surrounding approaches.

The scheme focuses on high-quality public areas, with half the site area comprising public realm connecting the wider Holbeck area with central Leeds and the mainline station to the north. In the centre of the site, a new public square addresses the Engine House. This listed building once contained the steam engines which powered the mill, and is being restored as an arthouse cinema, restaurant and bar.