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We're pleased to be working with long-standing client Downing on the Clay Pit Lane / Merrion Way development, set to transform two plots of land adjacent to the Leeds First Direct Arena in the city centre.

With one of the largest student populations in the UK, the designs aim to provide Leeds with further high-quality student housing within the city centre, delivering 1204 student bedrooms across the scheme's two buildings. The scheme is located in the vicinity of the city's esteemed academic institutions - Leeds Beckett University, University of Leeds, and Leeds City College.

Rising to a height of 38 storeys, Building A forms a distinctive landmark building which provides a 'sense of arrival' into the City Centre from the north. An elegant and crystalline 'point' building, the tower will act as a marker for Leeds Arena and the Arena Quarter as a whole. The building offers a mix of studio and cluster apartments, amenity spaces and external terrace located at lower levels.

The elevations of Building A are composed of a flush unitised façade system comprising a mixture of polished anodised aluminium and reflective glazed panels arranged in an alternating pattern. The combination of glass and polished aluminium cladding has been chosen due to their high levels of surface reflectivity, creating a dynamic façade that responds to shifting viewpoints and changing environmental conditions.

Building B varies in height, stepping from 7-20 storeys west to east in response to local built and emerging context. Its elevations are a combination of terracotta rainscreen cladding panels, anodised aluminium panels and clear glazed window units. Terracotta panels in differing tones have been selected to mediate and transition between the red/brown tones of the local vernacular brickwork of Queens Square and the whiter shades of recent developments to the east end of Merrion Way. These colours seek to create a rich and variegated façade.

An outline application has also been approved for a 10,000 sqm facility at the centre of the Leeds Arena Quarter, designed to attract additional corporate, cultural, and live events to the city and provide residents with an exciting new amenity. The venue will be a flexible exhibition format capable of hosting a range of events, including corporate banqueting, awards ceremonies, live entertainment, conferences, and exhibitions. The development of Building C will be taken forward by Leeds City Council at a later date.

Project information

  • Client


  • Status

    Planning Approved

  • Area

    0.7535 ha

  • Start


  • Completion


  • Consultants

    Contractor: Downing Construction
    Structural Engineer:
    Alan Johnson Partnership
    Building Services Engineer: Abacus Consult
    Landscape Architect: Re-form
    Sustainability & BREEAM Assessors:

  • Elements

    1204 student bedrooms
    Building A: 38 storeys
    Building B: 7-20 storeys
    Amenity space
    Associated ancillary facilities
    Amendments to public realm
    Cycle storage
    Outline application for 5-storey multi-purpose events space providing 10,000 sqm of accommodation.