Mary Studios sees the refurbishment of a former convent to provide workshop and studio spaces for artists in Leeds. Having established a successful base in neighbouring Patrick Studios, East Street Arts are expanding their offer with Marys providing opportunity to host artist residencies.
The space between the two studios will become Mary and Patricks Square, enhacing the approach and complimenting the existing green space across St Marys Street. The Art Square will provide the opportunity for display of public art and outdoor activities as well as ammenity space for use by Mary and Patricks residents and visitors. Trees to the south provide visual and noise protection from the busy New York Road.
The 'public facing' ethos of East Street Arts is supported with an extension to provide spaces for public learning and engagement in the arts. This extension and a new entrance changes the perception of the traditional rear elevation of the building into a new front onto Mary and Patricks Square. A key driver for the design was to improve the accessibility of the existing building.
Originally designed as a convent for the Sisters of Charity of St Paul, the cells on the second floor are an integral part of the convent typology. These small private spaces are characteristic of the communal nature of the convent with common tasks taking place in the larger common spaces. This community focus is an important part of the buildings heritage and will be renewed by the artist community. The nuns cells are retained and refurbished to provide short stay accommodation for artists in residence.