The Urban Beach
At the western edge of the development the main pedestrian spine culminates in a significant public riverfront space – The Urban Beach.
Two major features define the space, a new cultural building to the north and an existing abandoned rail viaduct to the west. The viaduct bridges the river then stops abruptly, its blank face anchoring the space and sitting as an industrial relic within the new landscape. There is potential to create a pedestrian connection to the upper level of the viaduct. This connection would link central Leeds to surrounding residential areas beyond the river, making the Wellington Place a major pedestrian access route and further animating the public realm. An indicative location for a lift access to the upper level of the viaduct is illustrated on the adjacent plan.
The design of the cultural centre will respond to its landscape setting and is intended to be the architectural centrepiece of the development. It will be an exciting and innovative new landmark building on the riverfront; creating a cultural destination and extending the reach of central Leeds to the west.
The Beach, in which the cultural centre sits, is composed of a series of paved, grass and planted terraces stepping down towards the river.
At the top of the beach, the terraces are larger and envisaged to be more active, as they step down to the river, they become smaller, more intimate and closer to the natural river ecology. The variety of spaces these terraces create will attract people to use this area in the way that suits their personal needs; some will prefer to gather on the open grassed areas or use the larger paved terraces as a performance stage, whereas others will feel most comfortable resting in the quieter coves and niches created on the lower terraces.
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