Mason Clark Associates are the civil and structural engineering design consultants for the current £17M refurbishment project at Leeds Town Hall. This imposing public building on the Headrow in Leeds is Grade I Listed, dating from the 1850s. The proposals include significant improvements to public access with a new entrance lift / stair core, new bar / café areas, and enhanced facilities and circulation areas. It also features a new 270-seater performance space, located in the former Court Room.
The design of the performance space has required detailed research, with investigation and assessment of the complex existing structure which bears over a basement with historic police cells still intact. We have had to develop a temporary works strategy to remove very heavy modern steel girders, installed to support a block of inserted first-floor office spaces.
The main feature of the performance space is a new projecting balcony, designed to float above the original Victorian public gallery. Minimal support locations were available, to avoid disruption to sight lines. We considered a series of options including hanging the structure from the original heavy roof trusses. The final design of the innovative slender steel frame has had to consider dynamic effects and the requirement for minimal fixings back to the original masonry walls.
Leeds City Council has a strictly controlled budget for the works which are currently out to tender. The works value was tested at RIBA Stages 2, 3 and 4 working closely with the client team, architect and quantity surveyor. We carried out a continuous review and value engineering exercise to ensure best value and to allocate the limited funds in the most effective way for the benefit of the project.