Plans for 120,000 sq ft ‘intergenerational’ building revealed

Sustainable developer Citu has unveiled the first images and plans of its low carbon 120,000 sq ft ‘intergenerational’ building which will house a primary school and care home in the Climate Innovation District.

Located in phase three of its £250m Leeds city centre district, which spans both sides of the River Aire in the South Bank regeneration scheme, the proposed four-storey building will include a ground floor nursery; a primary school for 420 pupils; a 70-room care home; 72 one and two-bedroom apartments and a community café, focused around a central shared central courtyard garden.

In the UK, 28% of all households are now occupied by a single person, meaning there are an increasing number of people across all age groups who live isolated lives without meaningful day-to-day contact with others.  To combat this, every element of the proposed building and surrounding public realm has been carefully designed to encourage interaction between the generations and the wider community.

The care home’s communal areas, living spaces and the residential apartments will overlook the central courtyard which will be used as play and teaching areas by the school in term time weekdays, and opened to the wider neighbourhood during evenings, weekends and school holidays.

The primary school will provide an educational facility for those living in the Climate Innovation District and beyond in the areas of Hunslet, Beeston, Cross Green and Richmond Hill, as well as more than 10,000 new homes planned within a mile radius of the site.

Jonathan Wilson, Development Director at Citu: “It has always been part of our long-term plan for a car-free neighbourhood to build infrastructure and amenities within walking or cycling distance of our homes. However, we want to do so much more than that in terms of making those facilities part of the growing community here.

“Usually when a school is built in an existing neighbourhood, it’s fenced off from the people who live and work in the area which is a real waste of both facilities and recreational space and ruins the urban grain. Primary schools should be healthy, bright, colourful, welcoming spaces and we see the school and the wider development, including the café, at the heart of the whole neighbourhood; for everyone to use, not only for teachers, children and their parents.

“We’ve included apartments as well to provide a potential option for teachers, carers and staff working at the development who are happy to go car-free and make the most of living and working in the city centre.”

The low-carbon building will be manufactured using the same cutting-edge timber-framed system as the 800 plus homes being built at the District. It will be powered using some renewable energy and will have an air-tight, high performance building fabric to maintain building efficiency and comfort.

In addition to the shared central courtyard, the plans also feature ample green landscaping and two further areas of public realm connected by cycle paths and pedestrian routes. This includes a 200-metre-long, 100,000sq. ft green, public boulevard leading to the new Citu pedestrian bridge, due to open this October, which will provide a vital link across the river from the city centre to the South Bank.

Once completed, the District will feature more than 7 acres of public realm and green space which will naturally encourage those who live and work into the area to bump into one another and further nurturing a sense of place and community.

A detailed planning application for the building has been submitted and if approved, construction will begin on next year with the school and wider facilities open for the September 2022 term.