The project references the familiar built typologies of Leeds to produce a building that is recognisable and culturally as well as physically memorable. The precedent of Leeds’ Victorian arcades and existing standalone buildings such as the Corn exchange and town hall, together with the typically weighty masonry riverside and railway buildings common to many northern British cities inform the new building. 36 The Calls is a building that is at once recognisable and unfamiliar - an uncanny iteration of loved and familiar types.
The ground floor of the new building provides lettable units suitable for bar, restaurant, or retail use, as well as a foyer and lift lobby for the floors above, and those adjacent in the 38 The Calls building. Massive masonry vaults visually support the building above, and define rooms - notional and actual - below. The axes of the vaults are aligned to the site geometries and as in many classical buildings the interstitial and poché spaces between conflicting geometries are used for services and vertical circulation. An arcade allows access into the centre of the plan, provides additional display windows and gives views through the restaurant onto the river. A loggia on the river elevation allows two levels of dining close to the water.
Street elevation marked by a colonnade lifting the building above the ground plane. Ground floor spaces defined by a field of columns supporting soaring vaults above. An arcade on a gentle incline draws people into the building and gives glimpses past diners eating in the grand hall and loggia to the river beyond. Headlights from cars descending into the basement under a kind of porte-cochere snake across the concrete vaults and enliven the lift lobby, which has views to the street. A mezzanine in the smaller unit nestles close to the massive vault and provides a birds eye view of the street below.
An intriguing sort of piano nobile threaded between the vaults of the rooms below. Glimpses through the vaults to the arcade and spaces at ground level. Views to the street and river.
A palazzo on the River Aire. Masonry elevations echo those of its neighbours. The depth of the façade ensures it appears more opaque and solid when viewed obliquely than might otherwise be the case.