RIBA Yorkshire 2018


RIBA Yorkshire 2018 Project Architect of the Year

York Main

The Piece Hall and Calderdale Central Library and Archives

RIBA Judges comments;

The Piece Hall is a Grade I listed unique and iconic Cloth Hall, dating from 1779. It was built for the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth (a 30-yard length of woven woollen fabric produced on a handloom) and would have been open for business every Saturday between the hours of 10.00am and 12.00 noon, i.e. it would trade for just two hours each week.

This level of commercial activity was presumably not very sustainable, and the building has had a number of uses throughout its history. It had been in decline for a number of years and in the early 2000’s its future was in doubt. Since then, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council have promoted the Piece Hall as a cultural, creative and community focus for the region. LDN Architects won the project through public procurement and Project Architect Mark Hopton has been making almost weekly visits from Edinburgh for fifteen years.

As a conservation project every stone has been carefully reviewed and repaired or replaced with appropriate restoration skills. But it is in the transformation of this building where the Design Team and clients ambition stands out. Previously the spaces were unheated, and the scheme includes new infrastructure and building services to deliver high quality commercial space for new businesses operating in shops and cafes. A new entrance (so called 4th gateway) has been added into the historic courtyard which for the first time creates permeability from town to centre to the railway station. Visitor numbers have soared.

Part of the site is occupied by the Square Church, which was partly destroyed by fire and demolished in the 1970’s except for the tower and spire which dominate the Piece Hall courtyard. The new Central Library and Archive the space of the former church and blends the remains of the stone fabric within it’s layout. It is a modern facility with automated book sorting, media store, flexible community spaces and a world class document archive built to the higher environmental standard. The original rose window has been intricately restored with double glazed units out to fit. Externally the new Library is a bold addition beaming with civic pride and connecting to Piece Hall.

Photographer(s): Chris Hall, Paul White & LDN Architects LLP

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