Crane your neck towards the sky and check out the most impressive skyscrapers in Leeds.
What makes a building a skyscraper? The definition is up for debate, but it’s essentially a very tall building of many storeys, and Leeds is home to a few corkers. We’ve rounded up nine massive high-rise structures that dominate the city’s skyline. From Dr Who-style towers to Jenga-inspired universities and candlestick apartment blocks, these are the tallest skyscrapers in Leeds, so next time you’re in the city, take a look up and see which ones you can spot.
Bridgewater Place has been the tallest building in Leeds since it opened in 2007 and is one of the most recognisable pieces of architecture in the city. Also known as The Dalek for its distinctive Doctor Who-esque design by Aedas, the office and residential skyscraper reaches 367 feet at its highest point, but it’s not always been a source of pride for the city. The wind tunnels that form around it cause chaos on a regular basis and Building Design even nominated it for its Carbuncle Cup, for ‘buildings so ugly they freeze the heart’.
Bridgewater Place, Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5BZ.
Not only is Sky Plaza the second tallest building in Leeds, it’s also the second tallest student accommodation in the world. At 348 feet, the building can be seen from over 25 miles away and although it’s second to Bridgewater Place, its roof is actually the highest point in Leeds because it’s built on high ground. Designed by Carey Jones Architects and opened in 2009, it’s easily identifiable during the day thanks its contrasting graphite and silver grey cladding, but even more so at night thanks to its flashing aircraft warning light.
Sky Plaza, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8AA.
Opal is synonymous with student accommodation in Leeds and the star in their portfolio is Opal 3, also known as Opal Tower. Nestled next to First Direct Arena, the 269-foot, 25-storey apartment complex opened in 2008 to house 548 students just minutes away from nearby universities. It’s an eye-catching example of modern 21st-century architecture in Leeds thanks to Morrison Design’s building-block-style structure, which is covered in slate grey cladding and topped out with a rust-red rooftop which peeks onto the top of the city’s skyline.
Opal Tower, Jacob Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BS.
260 feet high and 20 storeys tall, Pinnacle was the tallest skyscraper in Leeds from its completion in 1973 to the topping out of Bridgewater Place in 2005. For 32 years, it was the building that dominated the city’s skyline and although others have joined it since, the big, bright Pinnacle logo can be seen for miles around. It’s home to 145,000 square foot of office space, 15 ground floor retail units and a 388-space car park as it wraps around Bond Street and Albion Street in the heart of the city centre. Since it’s built on high ground, the show stopping views it offers from the top floors rival anything else you can find in the city.
Pinnacle, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AA.
White Rose View
White Rose View actually consists of two buildings, but it’s the taller tower which earns its place as one of the tallest buildings in Leeds, reaching a whopping 260-foot at its peak. This is an utterly modern building complex, owned by Unite and used for student housing. Stretching 28-storeys high, it was designed by Rio Architects as a towering addition to the ever-growing area around the First Direct Arena, inspired by classical principles but full of modern features, from the extensive use of floor-to-ceiling windows and light concrete blocks.
White Rose View, 16 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8PT.
It might not be the most aesthetically pleasing skyscraper you’ll ever come across, but the 253-foot Arena Point, formerly known as Tower House, has been a dominant figure on the Leeds skyline since it opened in 1967. For years, it was a prime example of dull mid-century architecture, but it had a considerable external refurbishment in 2004. It’s still more impressive for what it offers inside than out, though. The 76,800 square foot of office space has been modernised over the past decade to create high class facilities, slap bang in the middle of Leeds city centre.
Arena Point, Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8PA.
There’s plenty of incredible architecture to catch your eye in City Square, but Park Plaza is by far the tallest building here. Formerly an office block known as Royal Exchange House, it opened in 1966 and was the tallest building in Leeds for seven years. Its 20 storeys stretch 253-feet into the sky and have since been converted into the 4-star, 186-room Park Plaza Hotel. It’s only going to get better in the coming years too, as it’s currently undergoing its biggest renovation since it became a hotel in 2004.
Park Plaza, City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5NS.
Granary Wharf is home to a number of eye-catching buildings, but few steal your attention like Candle House. Designed by Carey Jones Architects, the 249-foot tower is a unique piece of architecture in Leeds. Its twisted brickwork has created an iconic candlestick-like appearance and it’s now home to 160 of the most coveted apartments in the city. Nestled right next to Leeds Station too, it’s become one of the first major landmarks people see when they arrive and it’s a rare example of a modern building slotting seamlessly into a historic area.
Candle House, 1 Wharf Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GJ.
It might be short in name, but K2 has a long and storied history as one of the biggest skyscrapers in Leeds. The 243-foot tower is a perfect example of 1970s architecture – a grey, cubic structure shooting into the sky off the corner of Albion Street and Great George Street. Originally known as Dudley House, it was home to offices from Leeds City Council but it had been left empty by the early 2000s. It has undergone a much-needed refurbishment over the last decade and is now otherwise known as The Cube, with flats above and retail units on the ground floor.
K2, 125 Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 8ES.
Broadcasting Tower is the architectural definition of Marmite. Home to the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology at Leeds Beckett University, you either love it or loathe it. The brash and bold rusty colour will change over time thanks to the use of weathering steel and its Jenga-like structure has created a divisive landmark that dominates the skyline. Even though it isn’t to everyone’s tastes, it’s one of the most decorated skyscrapers in Leeds, winning the 2010 Best Tall Building in the World Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Broadcasting Tower, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9PD.Cover image: © Copyright Leeds-List 2021 by Ollievision