The Crown House Jewel


The wonderful eccentricity of urban industrial and commercial architecture in Leeds never fails to intrigue, enthuse and excite.

Whilst I was practically in tears at having to send my laptop off for repair last week (online backups and hard drive backups notwithstanding), the outing has given me at least two opportunities to nose around Crown House off the Armley Road in Leeds.

From the outside, it’s just one of those rather ugly red brick oversized industrial buildings which mingles nicely amidst other ugly industrial architecture.

But inside, it has a breathtaking ugliness which is strangely attractive and compelling. The rich interesting woodwork contrasts with cheap and nasty Wedgwood blue carpet and paint, but it is the vast, empty, and entirely useless central space which commands any visitor’s attention.

These days, with space utilization at the forefront of any self-respecting space planning architect’s mind, it’s rare to encounter such deliberate nothingness.

Every time I go, I wonder if someone has attempted to submit some sort of mezzanine refurbishment scheme to the planners? And whether the working inhabitants glory in their spacious environment?

I can find no information on the history of this enigmatic building.

And my laptop is mended.


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