The University of Huddersfield’s Sovereign Design House – a former large foundry bath house - has been transformed into a chic café with roof terrace and has been named among the winners of the annual design awards from the Civic Society

A FORMER shower block transformed into a chic café situated on the University of Huddersfield’s campus has come top in the annual Huddersfield Design Awards. 

The University’s Sovereign Design House has won Best Refurbishment and Overall Winner for the stunning way it has transformed a derelict bath house on the site of an old foundry into a café and art gallery. 

The annual awards organised by the Huddersfield Civic Society throw the spotlight on the best designs in Huddersfield.  Other winners were a memorial garden for the Windrush generation from Caribbean countries and artwork in the town’s Victorian Greenhead Park.

Broadbent’s engineering company had sold some of its site on Queen Street South to the University and part of it featured a derelict bath house which had been originally designed by architects Abbey Hanson Rowe in 1954 and the Huddersfield-based practice – now simply known as AHR – returned to turn it into something spectacular. 

It’s one of the very few buildings in Huddersfield to have a roof terrace and the café will be open to the public from the 20 September.

Sovereign Design House Sovereign Design House

The bath house is a Grade II listed building as it’s thought to be the only remaining purpose-built bath house for foundry workers in the UK. AHR have included the old showers, soap holders and walls into the design along with original lockers to capture its history. 

A floor has been removed to allow light to flood into the building which is ideal to hire for functions and it is situated adjacent to the University’s award-winning Barbara Hepworth Building. 

AHR director Andrew France said: “One of the key challenges to overcome was the severely dilapidated state of the building which had been unoccupied for 10 years. The building was in a very poor state of repair with water ingress, a partially collapsed roof, vermin issues and general vandalism. 

“We worked to restore many of the building’s authentic properties including its roof terrace and sun lounge with the use of local stone, another distinguishing feature.”

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