The Piece Hall Transformation Project

Halifax, UK

The Piece Hall Transformation Project

The restoration of The Piece Hall in Halifax is one of the UK’s most significant and high profile heritage projects. The multi-million-pound Piece Hall Transformation Project has sensitively restored the 238-year-old building into a landmark visitor destination, with heritage interpretation, three levels of shops, independent new start-ups, restaurants and businesses, as well as a re-imagined central courtyard and enhanced public realm.

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Built in 1779, the Grade 1 listed Piece Hall is the sole survivor of the great 18th Century northern cloth halls that were built to support the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth. In the early part of the Millennium, Calderdale Council began planning the major regeneration of Halifax, with The Piece Hall at its heart.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the historic building has been carefully conserved by LDN Architects and transformed into a multi-use commercial, cultural and heritage destination. At the heart of The Piece Hall is the central courtyard around which the building is orientated. The courtyard - which now hosts a year-round programme of events - has been restored and reinvented into an attractive, open and accessible ‘Town Square’, which meets modern accessibility and functional requirements whilst maintaining its historical integrity.

The courtyard re-imagining by Gillespies was undertaken in close consultation with Historic England and the Council’s conservation planners and required bespoke and creative solutions to integrate new pavement levels, materials, lighting and water features into the courtyard, to create a large, usable central space for events. The feature steps, fountains, bespoke furniture and lighting all contribute to the contemporary design language which is sensitive and restrained, to enhance the impressive architectural features and materials of the classical building. Two cascading water features have been introduced to the north-west and south-east corners, which subtly interpret the historical importance of water in the production of cloth and animate this space. Particular consideration has been given to the evening and night time atmosphere though extensive lighting design and it is expected the Piece Hall will continue to be enjoyed long after the sun goes down.

Gillespies also enhanced the public realm of three existing gateways and created a new gateway through the east wing of the Piece Hall, establishing a new link between the town centre, the railway station and the new Halifax Central Library; encouraging increased footfall through the Piece Hall courtyard.

The Piece Hall Transformation Project is a striking example of historically-sensitive landscape restoration and reinvention that has secured the future of a nationally significant building.

Awards

  • 2017 The Historic England Angel Award - Best Rescue of a Historic Building
  • 2017 The Historic England Angel Award - UK Overall Winner
  • 2018 RIBA Yorkshire Building of the Year Award
  • 2018 RIBA Yorkshire Conservation Award
  • 2018 International Light Design Awards, Community and Public Realm Project of the Year
  • 2018 Halifax Civic Trust Award
  • 2018 RICS Yorkshire & Humber Award for Best Project Overall
  • 2018 RICS Yorkshire & Humber Award for Regeneration