Victoria Quarter, Leeds
Victoria Leeds, Leeds, England
1989 – 1990
Client: Prudential Assurance
In the late 1980s Brian was asked to contribute a proposal for a stained glass artwork to accompany the refurbishment of Queen Victoria Street and Sir Frank Matcham's 19th century, Grade II* listed arcades in the centre of Leeds, in the north of England, by architects Derek Latham & Co, who he'd previously collaborated with on Buxton's Cavendish Arcade. The initial commission was for stained glass at either end of the street, but Clarke developed the idea into a scheme to glaze over the entire street, which was being pedestrianised and roofed over to form a contemporary arcade, with stained glass. The vibrantly coloured, traditionally-leaded roof, which extends from one end of the street to the other and is over 400 feet long, was the largest secular work of stained glass in the world at the time of its completion in 1990, and remains the largest single work of stained glass in Great Britain and the largest stained glass roof in Europe, measuring 725 square metres (7,804 sq ft) according to the Guiness Book of World Records. Recipient of the Europa Nostra Award in 1990, and the Leeds Award for Architecture Special Award for Stained Glass.
"Where the eaves of the modern roof glazing meet the Edwardian street façade it was decided that a band of clear glazing would be left, allowing plenty of natural light into the street and sensitively limiting the amount of coloured light falling onto the polychromatic glazed tiling of Matcham’s architecture. Visitors to the Victoria Quarter are treated to an unforgettable coloured sky even during grey autumn afternoons, as the glass vivifies the space."