Plans to regenerate the John Poulson monstrosity that towers above Leeds railway station could finally get underway, years after they first surfaced.
Pouslon was an architect who became a prolific name by the 1960s who won numerous contracts and accumulated great wealth on the basis of paying bribes to win business. City House, which was completed in 1962 before his famous corruptions, was immediately criticised by many including John Bjeteman who had often-controversial views on modernist architecture.
In the case of the 52 metre tall, 12 storey tower that stood atop the train station Betjeman attacked the complete lack of architectural merit that the building had, and complained it overshadowed City Square which stands in front of Leeds station; a view that most people today would agree with.
Although renovated in the 1990s, the essence of the Poulson design has so far remained untouched. Plans by developer, the Kenmore Property Group, surfaced back in 2008 and were given the go-ahead by the local council but failed to get going.
Following the recession of 2008-2009 the project was bought by Bruntwood, who aim at moving it forward with a radical makeover. They will keep the double-winged floorplan although a series of vertical edges will be set running up the middle of the building to split the mass in half and create a more slender focal point than the current dull corner. The cladding will be completely stripped and new floor to ceiling glazing will be added consisting of a pattern of vertical parallelograms. It's an altogether more considered treatment than the designs Kenmore hoped to redevelop.
With the existing building empty, the scheme is currently being marketed by Savills to potential tenants who would be looking at new office space in Leeds. Bruntwood hopes that an anchor tenant can be found so that construction can go-ahead in 2012 that will finally cover up one of the city's worst architectural mistakes.
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