LEDA’s Design work on Chapel FM, Seacroft
Connie and Jim visited Chapel FM Arts Centre this week, in East Leeds, to see how LEDA’s sustainable design plans were taking shape. Chapel FM Arts Centre is part of the non-profit, Community arts organisation, Heads Together Productions Ltd. In 2014 they acquired an old Methodist chapel in Seacroft to create the first-ever dedicated arts centre in East Leeds.
I spoke to Adrian Sinclair at Chapel FM, and asked him about how the project came about. “LEDA Architects were involved in 2014 looking at the first feasibility study, we wanted a home for our Community radio station, and it was to re-use what was a neglected Chapel built in 1874. In phase two, we looked at the 1980’s Church hall next door, to redevelop that building into a usable space for us. It’s a small Chapel and a small hall, but together it creates a great space for our community” Adrian explained. “We have evolved into a Community Arts Centre with room for Radio, Theatre, Spoken Word, Dance, and much more”. The local Community is clearly central to the project, and the space is designed to be flexible, to accommodate a variety of activities, workshops and classes; for the young and old; and at various of times of the day. Eventually, there will be a Community Café, accessible to all, and Chapel FM have ambitions to grow, and to encourage and engage local participation.
Sustainable Building design
I asked Adrian why Sustainable design was important to them. “We knew that refurbishing an old building to be sustainable would be a challenge, but it was important to all of us from the outset, we wanted to prove that it was possible, to be an example to the community. We worked with Jim at LEDA to design a brief in the most sustainable way possible”. LEDA have worked alongside the talented Architect Matt Strong since 2018, when we carried out a Sustainability Assessment based on the One Planet Living Framework, that was used as part of Chapel FM’s successful funding bid.
March 2020 lockdown
When the pandemic hit, the contractor, Roebuck and Holmes, found a way of working safely through the restrictions, and they were able to deliver a finished project this week. And bar a bit of tidying up, the project is ready to go. At LEDA, Connie has worked hard since March to ensure this project is completed to a high standard. I asked her to tell me about the final stages. “It has been really exciting to see it come together; it looks so welcoming and spacious. We worked hard to ensure it was fully accessible to all, such as; careful, smart lighting, which is all dimmable; individually controlled induction loops for hearing aids; and emergency lighting and fire systems which take into account hearing and visibly impaired visitors. It was a really inspiring project to work on”.
Ground Source Heat pump
I asked Jim, here at LEDA, to tell me more about the lean design. “The new Ground Source Heat Pump is up and running, finally warming the newly-insulated performance space in the old hall, and the new kitchen. As well as a Ground Source Heat Pump to replace the gas boiler system, the scheme includes an Acoustic Mixed Mode Ventilation system in the hall, that works silently and passively during performances and events, and can be boosted with extract fans to provide a rapid cooling between performances or during breaks. This is a much more economical solution than using mechanical cooling, that would have required additional plant and equipment, and that would have needed maintenance”.
Words by Louise