The sympathetic restoration of a Grade II Listed Victorian factory has breathed new life into an historic piece of Leeds’ vivid manufacturing history. Incorporating plasterboards, metal framing and partitioning from British Gypsum, the project has transformed the disused Braime metal pressing factory into Leeds UTC – a state-of-the-art specialist college for 14-18 year-old engineering students. 

Developing the site required great technical skill from the project team to deliver the high standards of lighting, acoustics and durability required by a modern education facility – while still paying homage to the building’s heritage.

Due to the listed nature of the building, Race Cottam Architects were required to retain the original brick facades and structural steelwork in the design, but essentially the college is a new building wrapped in the two historic external facades. Accommodating three levels internally, the new facility features designated areas for heavy engineering, production lines, a mini factory, as well as classrooms and lecture-style theatres.

The initial plasterboard drylining, partitioning and ceiling specification was architect-specified as British Gypsum, with particular focus on robustness, acoustics, thermal performance and fire rating. The specification was developed further with the main contractor BAM Construction, sub contractor Sparta Systems and British Gypsum when the project went live.

Demonstrating excellent collaboration with following trades, the installation team’s high levels of technical skill have delivered an impressive finish throughout the project, with no 12-month defects reported. What’s more, the project was completed to an extremely short schedule, with the partitioning and drylining work taking just 20 weeks. The end result is a landmark building that sets a new standard in technology education.