3 Sovereign Square, Leeds

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As a landmark project, Sheppard Robson was required to deliver an exceptional and sustainable office and retail space capable of creating a distinctive sense of place and an improved urban form at the junction of Sovereign Street and Swinegate, whilst adding vitality across four active frontages in a contextually-sensitive manner characterised by the surrounding historic buildings and railway arches.


Incorporating a sub-dividable interior space intended to deliver maximum flexibility to occupants and boasting a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ as well as and an EPC A certificate, 3 Sovereign Square represents a bold architectural statement, which seamlessly blends monumentality and modernity.

A carefully-considered materials palette underpins this high-quality development. Within the architectural concept that sees contrasting elevations of high specification brickwork juxtaposed with dynamic glazed facades, Ibstock Chester Red Blend perfectly reflects local characteristics in colour and texture, creating a bold brick-framework across the Sovereign Street frontage and northern elevation at Swinegate link.

Responding to the character setting established by historic buildings already present within the street scene and the scale and massing of the surrounding vernacular, these stretcher-bonded brickwork elevations emphasise movement and transition at street level, whilst creating a hard-edge within a design which conceives of them as architectural ‘bookends’. Taking their cue from the context to frame the dynamic fully-glazed Sovereign Square and Swinegate facades, the projecting sawtooth design of which is itself inspired by the historic brick-built roofscape of the Queen’s Hall venue which once occupied the site.

The contrast of materiality delivers strong corners which address, and play upon, differences in solidity, transparency, colour and texture across the envelope, while the modulation of brickwork facades generates legibility and interest. Recessed masonry openings add depth and strengthen a composition, while simultaneously improving the thermal performance of the Sovereign Street façade by helping to reduce solar gains from the west.

Soldier course headers offer additional detail and bevelled corner elements accentuate the strength of the vertical piers while providing additional solid elements which contibute positively to the overall balance between the open and solid components of the facade.

Alongside an important network of routeways and public realms, 3 Sovereign Street provides a prestigious high performance, highly sustainable, landmark building of high architectural merit which holds brick at the core of its design.