The Round Foundry, Leeds

August 10, 2011 Filed under: 2000s, Masterplanning, Offices, Residential by Sanna Fisher-Payne Comments Off

Placed 33rd in the Placebook vote of favourite buildings by BDP
The Round Foundry in Holbeck, Leeds, brought an important part of British industrial heritage back to life. Former BDP director, Ken Moth is proud of his involvement

For me the Round Foundry is an excellent example of creative regeneration through teamwork. Ten years ago this group of buildings had the appearance of a nondescript collection of old sheds, car spray shops and junkyards located in an unsavoury part of town. In reality it was the 200 year old and last surviving engineering works of the early industrial revolution.

Here locomotives and complex machinery were being made at the same time that Napoleon Bonaparte was trying to conquer Europe on the back of a horse. Places like the Round Foundry conquered the world by creating material wealth for all on an unprecedented scale. Many similar places had been swept away in ignorance just a few years before, but gradually it was realised that the history of our country is not only to be found in the preserved mansions and parks of the wealthy.

The question was how to preserve historical value, create commercial value and make a modern place where people wanted to be. This was achieved through a determined and creative partnership between the developer, the planning authorities and the design team. The squares and alleys of the Round Foundry are a delight. Buildings old and new relate well and there is a palpable sense of place that everyone can enjoy.

An architect, Ken Moth joined BDP in 1974. Most of his work was in the adaptive re-use of historic buildings, bringing together careful conservation and contemporary design. He retired from salaried employment in 2010, but maintains an interest in historic buildings and is a trustee of the Victorian Society.