Riverside Architects look to rejuvenate Bradford City Centre site

Riverside Design Studio Architects will shortly be submitting a planning application for exciting new proposals to turn derelict nightclub premises on Great Horton Road in Bradford into a contemporary new student accommodation complex. We believe the proposed development, which nestles between the Alhambra Theatre and Odeon Cinema, will bring benefits not only to nearby campuses of Bradford’s University and College but also to the wider city centre.


High quality student accommodation is very sought after. We have seen a transition in recent years from rooms in shared houses to high quality purpose built accommodation. The development recognises the proximity to the educational and cultural ‘offer’ close by and the potential to capture and encourage that activity. Our proposals indicate circa 265 new student bedrooms that include a mixture of accessible units and larger postgraduate studio flats. The main entrance is sited on Great Horton Road – the main thoroughfare running adjacent the site with a secondary entrance off Quebec Street helping bring pedestrian activity and transform what is now a derelict nightclub and bar into a vibrant new urban setting. The inclusion of ground floor retail / leisure uses should provide active frontage and compliment buildings such as the Alhambra Theatre.


The site contains a Grade II listed building along Quebec Street which currently contains WC and cellar/storage areas of the former night club. The former wool warehouse is one of the oldest buildings in Bradford city centre and survived the redevelopment of Bradford in the mid to late 19th century. Sadly the special interest of the building has been greatly harmed by loss of historic fabric and insensitive alterations. We proposed to refurbish it to include a ground floor cafe for the use of student residents as well as ensuring new additions treat it with respect and provide room to breathe. Our aim is to significantly improve the character and appearance of not only this building but also the wider conservation area.


Over the last few months we have looked at various massing arrangements to ensure we respect the site’s sensitive surroundings. Building elements have been arranged primarily to reinforce the site edges, address boundary conditions and level differences as well as create an efficient design to ultimately ensure buildability. The proposals therefore vary in height to reflect immediate context, from the lowest point adjacent the listed former warehouse, to the higher ‘city block’ element on Great Horton Road which ties in with roof and fly-tower heights of the Alhambra. To minimise impact at street level the proposals step up towards a central tower dressed in metal and glass. Due to its height the new building it will undoubtedly have an impact upon the wider area over and above that of the existing building and site. We believe this impact is a positive one.


There are many examples of how quality modern architecture can sit successfully within a historic core, complementing in scale, mass and design. Hopefully you see that we have appreciated the sites sensitive context and tried to design a scheme that has a positive effect on the area and adds to the rich mix of buildings in the city centre. As part of our strategy we would like to canvas the opinions of the local community. If you reside or work in close proximity to the Alhambra Theatre and Bradford’s education campuses we would appreciate your thoughts. To do so please use the contact form here.