Former factory provides sensitive mixed use
Category Adaptive Reuse | Project High Street, Preston | Architect FMSA
The architecture of the former Howe Leather Factory complex, with its two storey brick façade and large window openings, is a reminder of the pattern of mixed manufacturing and retail development along Preston's High Street.
The project aimed to introduce an additional storey for apartments while maintaining the original factory building as the dominant visual presence to the street. The deep floor-plate of the building offered limited internal amenity and access.
At roof level the added upper storey is set well back from the existing parapet, creating a relatively private area for terraces. The retention of small-paned windows in large openings at first floor gives individual character to the building and reminds of its former manufacturing use. The introduction of retail uses at ground level provides an active frontage and contributes to the vitality of the High Street. By opening up an "internal street" within the factory building, apartments are provided with a dignified access, as well as internal light and ventilation.
Former industrial buildings in urban areas are able to be adapted sympathetically to a range of uses. The reuse of the former Howe Leather Factory also maintains an ongoing connection for the local community with the earlier history and identity of the suburb.