VQ Wins Urbanism Award
Following its recent success at the UK Property Awards, Leeds’ premier shopping development, Victoria Quarter, scooped another prestigious award on Friday 11th November, when it was voted 2012’s Great Place by the Academy of Urbanism.
The Urbanism Awards were initiated in 2006 to develop a strong evidence base for high quality, innovative and sustainable urbanism. The Awards process seeks to identify and recognise the best, most enduring or most improved urban environments at various levels of scale and to understand better the processes by which they are nurtured, used and enjoyed.
The annual Call for Entries was launched in the spring of this year and by early summer the 15 finalists (three in each category) were announced. An assessment visit by a team of Academicians was hosted at VQ in July, with a report then compiled on the centre based on six key areas.
In The Great Place category, VQ was shortlisted with Gillett Square in Hackney and Queen Square in Bristol, both of which fielded strong competition. The final vote was a close run thing, with VQ securing victory over Gillett Square by a matter of only a few votes.
The development of VQ, combining the regeneration of the existing Victorian buildings with contemporary features, such as Brian Clarke’s stained glass roof; its user friendliness and accessibility, along with the overall atmosphere in the centre were all factors in its success. But as Professor Kevin Murray, the Academy’s Chairman and a leading urban planner with more than 20 years experience in planning, regeneration, urban design and economic development says the win was fundamentally because “it did exactly what it said on the tin.”
Commenting afterwards, VQ Centre Director John Bade added, “This is a significant award for VQ, recognising as it does, not only the foresight of the scheme’s original developers but the subsequent evolution of the centre and its enduring appeal for the people who work here and those that visit every week.”
“Our nomination was wholly independent and unconnected to the centre,” he continued, “so it is an especially pleasing win particularly so given the awards are on an international scale”