Since early 2008 Leeds City Council has been pushing for a detailed design solution to combat problems caused by high winds around Bridgewater Place.
A number of measures were put in place to make the area safer for passers-by and road users – 180m of guard rail was installed around the building and high-sided vehicles are banned – but the council has been pursuing a comprehensive and permanent scheme on both the building and in the road.
The council also appointed structural engineering firm Buro Happold to devise a sophisticated solution to address wind problems not just for the building itself, as proposed by its owners, but also for the environment around it.
Bridgewater Place, opened in 2007, was designed by Aedas Architects and built by Bovis LendLease. The 32-storey building stands 112m high.
Until recently CPPI Bridgewater Place, the building owner, argued that it was only responsible for wind mitigation measures on its own land and not on the adjacent highway.
However, it has now agreed to take responsibility for a comprehensive scheme to reduce wind issues both around the building and in the nearby roadway, the council said.
It has agreed to work with Buro Happold and is expected to submitted to the council before the end of the year.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said: “This is excellent news that will deliver the solution we have been striving towards for a considerable length of time. We have always insisted that we will not settle for anything that falls short of a complete design scheme to combat the dangers of high winds to both pedestrians and road users around Bridgewater Place.”
A potential solution identified by Buro Happold involves canopies and large screens on the building and a number of 4m-deep ‘baffles’ to be placed 6m above Water Lane.
Intensive wind tunnel testing by specialists of the design has produced promising results, the council said, with significant improvements to other options previously tested.