WorDS: acme phoToS: JacK hobhouse aCME victoria Gate the brief for the victoriA GAte masterplan was to design a new, vibrant, key urban block in Leeds city centre which provided retail and leisure uses anchored by a department store, with an associated car park. The visibility and identity of the department store was an important part of the brief. The scheme needed to be designed as an extension of the Headrow, the city’s main civic axis, and Hammerson’s brief right from the beginning was that the scheme should not be a ‘mall’ but more a 21st century extension of the existing Victorian arcades for which Leeds is famous. Victoria Gate,in the East of Leeds city centre, forms a natural extension of Victoria Quarter and Leeds’s retail district. The scheme includes a new John Lewis department store, multi storey car parking and two arcades with a mix of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities. The new John Lewis store anchors the scheme. Placed on the extension of the Headrow, the city’s main civic axis, the store forms a visible gateway into the city centre. The buildings appear as three distinct elements with individual identities that relate to each other and the vernacular of Leeds.