Mary’s Studios, BEETA; Business Environment Engineering Technology and Arts
will provide new soft and hard workshops, production spaces, as an education suite and residential rooms for artists visiting and staying in the city for an extended period.
Mary’s was originally designed as a convent for the sisters Charity of St Paul, and formed part of the church estate. The upper floors remain largely unchanged from this former use and the previous nun’s cells are to be retained and re-used as artists halls of residence. The building’s previous use prior to the refurbishment was as offices. The design proposals rationalise the internal spaces making them accessible and suitable for multiple different users.
The building is to be extensively refurbished and a small extension seeks to resolve the back to front nature of the building. The original convent faced York road. This front elevation now addresses the elevated section of the A61 effectively making the original front the back. The new extension and reconfigured entrance create a new frontage to Mary’s street facing the open green area opposite. The new entrance and extension will improve the existing relationship between Patrick and Mary’s studios. A longer-term aspiration will establish Patrick and Mary’s square; a new public open space linking the two studio premises.
Group ginger and East Street Arts are working closely to develop the proposals on a very efficient budget. The internal refurbishment will leave elements of the existing building structure in a raw unfinished state with pockets of intentionally finished areas. The external appearance follows this collage approach with the existing building remaining largely un-altered and the new extension overtly expressed. Group ginger and east street arts are working with a commissioned artist to design a new tiles faïence façade following the “Bermnantoft” tradition which was once common to this area of Leeds.