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Landscape and Architecture

Be Inspired by Buildings in Leeds

Leeds Architecture Shortlist

Listed below are just a few of the most interesting historic, contemporary and innovative buildings in Leeds. You may have seen some of them.

  • Which ones do you like the best and why?
  • Which other buildings would you nominate to go on our shortlist? Why?


Tower Works, Holbeck

Contemporary photograph showing three brick towers.
Tower Works' Towers

Tower Works is named after the two impressive chimneys you can still see. The original factory buildings on this site were designed by William Bakewell in 1899, and the towers were inspired by Italian architecture.

The factory was designed for TR Harding & Son Ltd, a firm that made steel pins for carding combs and cards needed for the textile industries (wool and cotton mills). As with most industry of the period, this machinery would have been making products with resources extracted from within the British Empire, and potentially using unsafe working practices for local mill workers too. Thomas R Harding founded the firm in 1829 in France, but then moved manufacture to Leeds in the 1850s to maximise on skilled local labour.

His son, Thomas Walter Harding took on the family firm and had the towers added and the factory extended in 1899, and again in the 1920s. He was quite influential in terms of Leeds architecture. He was involved in the idea of building Leeds Art Gallery, and paid for the development of City Square including the statue of the Black Prince. He also provided funds to improve Abbey House, now a museum, but it was the original gatehouse to Kirkstall Abbey. He was Lord Mayor of Leeds around the time he extended the factory and took the title of Colonel after accepting an honorary commission from the Leeds Rifles.

The modern extensions at Tower Works were designed by architect Irena Bauman in 2008.


Portrait photograph of Irena Bauman
Architect Irena Bauman


Temple Mill

Temple Works is a former flax mill in Holbeck, owned by James Marshall and completed in 1840. It was designed by engineer James Combe. The architectural style ‘borrows’ from ancient Nubian temples at Antaeopolis, Edfu and Dendera. This area is now in modern day Egypt.

Colour photograph of Temple Mill, an Egyptian influenced building in Leeds that was a flax mill
Temple Mill in Leeds

Egyptology was becoming popular as the British Empire expanded, and wealthy, male, British archaeologists were excavating, or robbing, ancient tombs and returning their finds to England. The stone facade of Temple Works has 18 windows and between each is a column with a papyriform capital, where the top of the column looks like the papyrus plant. The factory originally had a chimney in the style of a tekhenu (original Kemite, or ancient Egyptian, name), or obelisk (Greek name), which was demolished and replaced by a brick structure in 1852 when the original cracked.

Colour photograph showing a detail of the Temple Works building in Leeds, with Egyptian design influence
Detail of Temple Works, Leeds

Tekhenu were originally placed at the entrances of temples, so we would now view its use architecturally as a chimney as cultural misappropriation.


Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility

Contemporary photograph of a building in the shape of an upside down 'U', with plants growing up all one side of the wall.
Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility

Designed by internationally renowned architect, Jean-Robert Mazaud of S’pace Architects in 2013. On one side of the building there is a green 'living' wall, which aims 'to enhance the visual impact and provide biodiversity'.  

See Supporting Links to find out more


Town Hall, Corn Exchange and Mechanics Institute (now the City Museum)

Contemporary photograph showing a large, square buiding with steps out the front.
Leeds City Museum (Formerly the Mechanics Institute)

Designed by Cuthbert Brodrick. 

Brodrick was born in Hull and designed Leeds Town Hall in 1858, the Corn Exchange in 1863 and Mechanic’s Institute (which is now Leeds City Museum) in 1865. The Corn Exchange was funded by the council as a trading floor for grain, much needed as the city expanded. Mechanics Institutes were often funded by local industrialists using their fortunes gained through industry and empire as spaces for public learning.


Leeds Civic Hall

Contemporary photograph of the upper part of Leeds Civic Hall, showing two golden owls standing on plinths and the gold clock.
Leeds Civic Hall

Designed by Vincent Harris in 1930.

Harris also designed Manchester Central Library, Sheffield City Hall, Kensington Central Library, Glamorgan County Hall and Atkinsons Building on Old Bond Street in London. The Civic Hall was built in 1930-33 with a grant from the national Unemployed Grants Committee (£270,000 of the £360,000 total build cost) It was a way of providing employment for unemployed building workers as a result of the global recession following the Wall Street Crash in 1929.


Kirkgate Market

Contemporary photograph of the market, a large brick building
Leeds Kirkgate Market

Designed by Joseph and John Leeming.

The Blockshops inside Kirkgate Market were built in 1875. The building pushed technological boundaries by creating ‘fish row’ an innovative cooled area for fishmongers bringing fresh produce from the coast in 1895. The aisles were originally open to the air, until they were roofed around the same time. The architects Joseph and John Leeming also designed Crystal Palace in London. The markets were refurbished and areas added in 1976, 1981 and 2016.

Greyscale map showing the original layout of Kirkgate market
Kirkgate Market Map 1891

The fish market stood where the current National Express bus station is, at one end of the market.


Leeds General Infirmary

Designed by George Gilbert Scott.

Leeds General Infirmary
Leeds General Infirmary

The older and ornate Victorian LGI buildings are quite rare buildings. They were designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in1863. He also designed St Pancras Station in London.

Window of Leeds General Infirmary
Window of Leeds General Infirmary


Broadcasting Place

Designed by Alex Whitbread and built in 2008.

Broadcasting Place, Leeds
Broadcasting Place, Leeds

Alex works for Feilden Clegg Bradley architects who also designed buildings at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield.


Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds Central Library and Art Gallery, Roundhay Park and Lawnswood Cemetery

All designed by George Corson.

Leeds Art Gallery building, front facade with later extension housing Henry Moore Institute next door
Leeds Art Gallery

George Corson was a Scottish architect who influenced much of Victorian Leeds buildings and landscapes. He designed Leeds Grand Theatre in 1877 and the central library and art gallery in 1878. He is buried in Lawnswood cemetery.


Bridgewater Place

Designed by Michael Gardner and built in 2007.

Bridgewater Place, Leeds
Bridgewater Place, Leeds

This building has 32 floors and is nicknamed The Dalek! It is Leeds’ tallest building standing at 476 feet above ground level.

Bridgewater Place, Leeds
Bridgewater Place, Leeds


Roger Stevens Building, University of Leeds

Designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon architects in 1970. It has 25 lecture theatres inside!

Roger Stevens Building, University of Leeds
Roger Stevens Building, University of Leeds



Candle House

Contemporary photograph of a tall, cylindrical building that twists at fouor storey intervals
The Candle, Leeds

Designed by Simon Clarke in 2009.

Candle House has 160 exclusive flats, all of which have access an amazing rooftop garden!


Hotel Metropole, Leeds

Colour photograph showing a large red brick building with protruding windows and a gothic style
Metropole Hotel in Leeds

Designed by local architects Chorley and Connon in 1898.

Close up of a part of the hotel, looking from the street upwards.
Detail of the Metropole Hotel, Leeds


Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Chapeltown

Designed by Yorkshire architect J Stanley Wright in 1929.

Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds
Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds

The building was originally a Jewish Synagogue. It was the first major Synagogue to be built in Leeds, when the Jewish community lived in the Chapeltown area. Gradually as the community moved out towards the north of the city, so did their faith buildings. The Synagogue closed in 1985, and Northern School of Contemporary Dance moved into the building in 1987, and redeveloped it between 1987 and 1997.


Parkinson Building, University of Leeds

Designed by architect Thomas Lodge.

Parkinson Building, University of Leeds
Parkinson Building, University of Leeds

Building started in 1938 but wasn’t finished until 1951 because of World War II.


Salem Chapel, Leeds

Built in 1791 by the Rev Edward Parsons.

Salem Chapel, Leeds
Salem Chapel, Leeds

This building is the oldest chapel in Leeds city centre.


First Direct Arena, Leeds

Designed by Populous architects in 2011.

The honeycomb structure is based on a mathematical diagram and has glazed panels fitted with coloured, kaleidoscopic lights.  


Contemporary photograph of Leeds Arena.  The building is a fan shape.
Leeds First Direct Arena


Rose Bowl, Leeds

Designed by Sheppard Robson architects in 2009


Contemporary photograph showing a circular glass building composed of tessellating triangles.
The Rose Bowl in Leeds


Victoria Gate, Leeds

Contemporary photograph showing part of the Victora Gate complex, with red brick and tall, narrow windows.
Victoria Gate Shopping Centre in Leeds

Designed by ACME architects in 2016

This building was created using cutting-edge technology to carefully place the 360,000 different bricks and 228 twisted metal panels covering it.

Contemporary photograph of a building made from verticle strips of twisted metal, creating a striking  overal geometric effect.
Victoria Gate Carpark, Leeds

The Atlas Statue was designed and produced by Thewlis & Co in the 19th century. The statue is of the Greek god Atlas, struggling to carry the sky on his shoulders.