The John Lewis department store is the anchor of the new Victoria Gate quarter, and located on the civic axis of Leeds, within direct lines of sight of City Hall. 

Project Details +

Project Details


CLIENT: Hammerson and Sir Robert McAlpine

DATE: 2011-2016

STATUS: Complete

SIZE: 26.000m2

Credits +



Concept Design:

Julia Cano, Roberta Pari, Stefano Dal Piva, Marc Dufour-Feronce, Heidrun Schuhmann, Friedrich Ludewig

Detail Design:

Julia Cano, Friedrich Ludewig, Pablo Carballal, Peter Hofstetter, Sofia Steffenoni, Catherine Hennessy, Cristobal Bernal, Carlos de la Barrera

Construction Design:

Michel Bosauder, Friedrich Ludewig, Marcos Velascos, Andrea Collar Loyer, Stefano Dal Piva, Catherine Hennessy, Charles Pigott

The largest John Lewis store north of London, and it is likely to be the one of the last new full-line department stores ever build, as shopping patterns are changing and there are fewer and fewer cities that can support a major store of this size.

John Lewis often require only a few windows, therefore the building could not rely on transparency to create life and articulation. Instead, the façade order is inspired by the rich textile history of Leeds and is designed as a sculptural diagrid of reconstituted stone and layered terracotta, reminiscent of woven fabric. The rich relief in the façade provides light and shadow, and ensures that the building has a sculptural presence during the day and the night, with and without windows.

Reconstituted stone with polished and acid etched finishes, cast in panels weighing up to 20 tons, are used as external wall cladding. Windows are placed where requested and terracotta is used as infill in the diagrid where glass is inappropriate. The terracotta is an interpretation of the traditional Burmantofts Faience products manufactured locally, and consists of simple repetitive hexagon panels, which are rotated to achieve visual difference for each elevation.

Façade assembly

1. Precast concrete panel;
2. Acid etched concrete ribs;
3. Polished concrete primary ribs;
4. Decorative terracotta;5. Insulation;
6. Diagrid lattice steel structure;
7. Concrete slab;
8. Bracketry;
9. Glazing;
10. Entrance recessed panel

North elevation

South elevation

Rooftop Restaurant façade assembly

1. Light weight roof;
2. Steel structure;
3. Anodised aluminium vertical fins;
4. Curtain wall glazing;
5. Anodised aluminium cladding;
6. Terrace paving;
7. Inverted roof;
8. Concrete slab;
9. Floor by tenant,
10. Insulation;

North façade with Leeds MSCP


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