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‘Light’ Neville Street

Nestled between the growing Holbeck Urban Village and the continuing development of the city centre lies Neville Street, known to many as the tunnel that leads to the Dark Arches.

The ‘Light’ Neville Street project team sought to evoke the spirit of enterprise and creativity that had once made Holbeck once the world’s greatest workshops and deliberately drew on a wide range of specialisms spanning artistic, engineering, surveying  and architectural worlds.

Led by Leeds-based Bauman Lyons Architects the design integrates work by Berlin-based sound & light artist Hans Peter Kuhn featuring thousands of LED lights to generate a random pattern on the east wall each day.

Leeds-based graphic designer Andy Edwards designed an installation for the west wall that creates the illusion of movement. Acoustic engineers Arup softened and reduced the effects of traffic noise with bespoke-designed acoustic panels. Artist Hans Peter Kuhn also created a sound installation which interweaves unexpected elements within the existing sound-scape of the tunnel.

The improvements also include the relocation of the bus stops easing pedestrian congestion and the widening of the footpaths, reducing the vehicle lanes. This has allowed for wider road lanes giving cyclists better access.

The project was complex and required detailed consultation with Network Rail as access to the railway bridge for maintenance was key to the scheme’s planning approval and ultimate success.

The overhead canopy is designed with a series of hatches allowing access to the areas of the railway bridge overhead. Each of the wall panels are hinged on heavy-duty steel brackets drilled to the wall to allow access behind.

In January 2008 Bradford-based Wrekin Construction were appointed to undertake the build phase of the project and manage off-site production. Heywood Metal Finishers in Huddersfield anodised the aluminium for the panels, LED technology was developed by Holbeck company LiteLED, and Bradford firm TMC installed the acoustic systems.

In March 2009, suffering the effects of the global recession, Wrekin Construction went into administration, stalling the ‘Light’ Neville Street project for five months. Scunthorpe-based Saferoad BLG had played a major part in the construction of the panels and they took over the completion of work on-site in May 2009.

Despite the delay and difficult economic conditions Neville Street was completed within the original budget.

On 23rd October 2009 the ‘Light’ Neville Street project came to a close and Neville Street was unveiled to the public marking the completion of a new gateway for the city and improved connectivity for more than 21,000 daily commuters.

For more information about the ‘Light’ Neville Street project team and journey click here.

Image (top) by: Emma Duffield Photographic Design
Image (middle) by: Emma Duffield Photographic Design
Image (bottom) by: Kippa Matthews
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