Our brief was to provide a home for ‘Tileyard North’, a music-centred creative campus, and one which could bring new life to a collection of derelict listed mill buildings where the last industrial processes had ceased in the 1970s. The brief also asked for the project to fill in the ‘missing piece’ of Wakefield’s waterfront, creating a campus that positively links the Hepworth Wakefield with the wider waterfront (both spatially and programmatically).
The existing mill complex was a constrained site that was derelict and inaccessible, contained hazardous materials, and was Grade II listed. Furthermore, our approach had to be delivered in phases due to funding milestones. Tileyard North at Rutland Mills is the final piece in a ten-acre regeneration masterplan that is breathing new life into Wakefield’s waterfront. The project converts a complex of long-derelict Grade II listed mills into a mixed-use, inclusive, creative, and cultural cluster with world-class facilities. The project is being delivered over two phases, the first of which completed in September 2022.
The buildings had been derelict for 20 years, and many of the spaces had deteriorated significantly. However, we retained over 80% of the original building fabric, carefully repairing and re-purposing each space. Materials for new interventions were picked to reflect a modern industrial palette. Interventions have been carefully considered, minimising the schemes embodied carbon. A balance between heritage and sustainability considerations has been struck in determining where and how interventions can be sensitively made to improve the thermal performance and airtightness of the mill buildings. Approaches such as insulating roofs, drying and repairing masonry, and improving windows have resulted in a significant improvement without impacting the character of the existing buildings
The transformation of the buildings means a significant piece of industrial heritage has been saved. A substantial new piece of public realm has been provided, and rich mix of uses has been introduced that will positively benefit Wakefield and the local community. The scheme provides inclusive access to all levels, a consideration that was carefully considered within the design against the heritage considerations of the buildings. The balance can be seen in the external circulation core, providing lift and stair access across the buildings whilst interfacing lightly with the existing fabric.
“This state-of-the-art creative hub will firmly put Wakefield on the map.” Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council
Serious about society. Human about architecture.
There’s a particular kind of special that Hawkins\Brown strives for: creating architecture that’s both incredibly serious in intention and refreshingly human in experience. That sounds like a contradiction, but what is the human condition if not a mishmash of paradoxical needs from the profound to the playful. Too much seriousness will suck the life out of a building, but disarm people and you have their attention. Hawkins\Brown is an internationally renowned practice of architects, designers and researchers, based in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and LA. We’re in the top 10 of the Architect’s Journal’s list of 100 UK practices. We’ve won the AJ100 Practice of the Year three times. We were shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the redevelopment of the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield, and most recently, were winners of the 2020 RIBA President’s Award for Research for our development of the Hawkins\Brown Emission Reduction Tool.