Are you thinking about a development project which may need a good architect in Leeds?
There are several excellent architects’ firms in and around Leeds and West Yorkshire and this article explains how to filter through them to find the right one for you.
We will help you plan the right questions to ask an architect and show you examples of some stylish developments carried out by architectural designers which have great reviews.
We’ll take you through all the steps you need to make to find the right Leeds architect’s firm for you.
Leeds became known as a centre for cloth manufacturing in the 16th and 17th centuries and was a major hub for the production and trading of wool in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Industrial Revolution saw factories springing up as the city became a base for flourishing industries such as flax, engineering and printing, along with iron foundries. Other industries soon followed including pottery, brickmaking, clock and jewellery-making, added to by engineering and tailoring into the 20th century.
The city’s architecture ranges from grade I listed buildings like the Temple Works inspired by ancient Egypt, to Victorian factories, geometric futuristic buildings, bold modernist glass and steel structures, skyscrapers and angular, eye-catching buildings.
Today, Leeds has a population of 526,043 and is home to the Royal Armouries which houses the national collection of arms and artillery, and Kirkgate Market, one of the biggest indoor markets in Europe.
The Local Plan
Leeds Council is considering updating its Local Plan to focus on climate change; in 2019 it declared a climate change emergency and an aim to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030. The council is also considering imposing higher than the minimal biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements on developers of new sites.
Five areas of planning policy change are being considered in the developing Local Plan. These are:
Carbon reduction: there is a focus on whole life construction costs for buildings, sustainable construction, reducing carbon emissions, sustainability, energy storage and greener developments including increased renewable energy.
Flood risk: attention is being given to a functional floodplain and sustainable drainage systems to counter surface flooding.
Green infrastructure: the council is prioritising trees, tree planting and green space, making it harder to develop on greenfield sites.
Place-making: the aim is to encourage easily accessible facilities through creating `20-minute neighbourhoods’ and increasing connectivity.
Sustainable infrastructure: high on the priority list are HS2, Leeds Bradford Airport and digital infrastructure.
Why hire an architect?
A professional architect service can add a range of skills to a scheme. Their training in devising plans and attention to detail may well result in savings as they can assess the most efficient way to create space or utilise existing space.
Professional architectural services can include taking charge of obtaining the necessary planning permissions, and moving the approved building project onto the next stage by managing the tender process to find a builder.
Other architectural services include providing a design, feasibility study, creating technical drawings and building regulations drawings and dealing with building regulation matters during the build.
A good architect can advise on the most energy efficient way to heat a house and will have useful knowledge of the best materials to use. You may only need an architect for the early stages of your project, but if required, they can project manage the entire scheme to ensure build quality and monitor the budget.
Their in-depth knowledge of a city’s planning outlook is another benefit of having an architect on board. This might include its environmental priorities and policy on how old buildings can be re-used.
A good architect will also be aware of the council’s policy on the amount of biodiversity net gain it requires on developments and can advise you accordingly.
You could also encounter issues with trees or ecology during your development which may require specialist knowledge from third parties. Your architect will be able to help with this too. They can offer advice and put you in touch with the right people if they need to.
Leeds Architecture Projects
Here’s a taste of some amazing schemes created by architects in Leeds and West Yorkshire which should fire your imagination. These architectural designers cover a range of specialities and can create designs from the exquisite to the practical – there’s bound to be one that can bring something special to your venture.
Orange Design Studio
Designing beautifully crafted buildings is the ethos of Orange Design Studio in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. This firm gets five star reviews and works closely with clients to understand the brief, using tools such as 3D printing, laser cutting and virtual reality walk-throughs to bring their architectural designs to life.
Here, the client wanted a design to add useable space to complement the rest of the house at The Quarry.
The scheme extended the main living space onto the upper terrace and a new extension with a cantilevered floating corner allowed for a panoramic view. Bespoke timber louvres were installed at a high level to reduce solar gain from the south-facing elevation and add visual interest.
Davey Stone Associates
Davey Stone Associates in Sheffield specialise in residential and commercial building conversions, single storey extensions and remodels. They get excellent reviews and their website states:
“We provide an extensive range of bespoke architect design services, tailored to suit our clients’ individual needs.”
This loft conversion in a Victorian property involved creating a master suite with a bathroom and office. The firm provided the architectural design and dealt with building regulations.
This small, friendly Wakefield practice operates throughout Yorkshire, the north of England and further afield. Their website states:
“We will always endeavour to maximise your budget, giving you great value for money but with realistic expectations.”
They have great reviews and offer a full range of architectural services, specialising in bespoke architectural design. This former barn was part demolished and rebuilt to create a 5-bedroom home featuring a double-height glazed entrance hallway, cinema room and galleried landing.
This chartered architect practice, based in Harrogate, serves Ilkley, Wetherby, Leeds and York and helps homeowners and developers add value to their property.
They have good reviews and can deal with extensions, refurbishments, new build housing and commercial to residential conversions, as well as offering master planning and 3D visualisation.
The firm states its aim as: “To transform your property in a cost effective and inspiring manner.”
Here are a selection of their polished projects from conversions to single storey extensions.
This is a design-led practice with strong construction knowledge.
Their website states:
“Our aim is to create exciting spaces that please, on budget and on time. We believe in creating long-term added value for our clients through the combination of quality design with commercial reality, resulting in logically considered buildings and spaces.”
They pride themselves on offering a professional architect service, being flexible to cater for clients’ needs and they get five-star reviews.
They were commissioned to create this home in a Green Belt area for a downsizing couple, where the brief was to maintain the open feel of the barn by designing a modern, open plan living space, while retaining the heritage of the building.
As you can see, there are many superb projects out there, demonstrating what can be done when you hire a good Leeds architect.
From small architects’ practices specialising in conversions and extensions, to larger outfits who will take on more extravagant schemes, there are many great firms around and most will take on the jobs of obtaining the necessary planning consent and project management.
It’s a good idea to speak to several architects’ firms before making a choice. Ask them the same questions so that you can compare answers and decide which will give you the best advice. Obviously, you need to ask about their experience of working on your type of project and will want to see photographic evidence. For more ideas on the right questions to ask, read our article 10 things to ask your architect.