The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

BDP’s Halifax HQ listed

Some more good listing news: our application to list the Halifax Building, Trinity Road, Halifax has been successful. This remarkable office building, designed by the architecture firm BDP and constructed in 1968-74 was put forward by the Twentieth Century Society in 2011.

English Heritage reccommended listing the striking and award winning building at grade II for a number of reasons including architectural and design interest:

– Architectural interest: a visually striking building; its distinctiveness confidently reflecting the Society’s
economic supremacy in the town;

– Design interest: a highly intelligent design which by raising the main open-plan office floor on four
enormous legs and placing the document storage system underground, enables the bulk of the building to be
removed from eye level; this enables open aspects at ground-floor level, thus initiating an interaction between
the building and the historic urban environment in which it stands

The Halifax Building was designed as the headquarters for the Halifax Building Society and built with an unusually high budget. The rapid growth of the society over the twentieth century prompted the requirement for a new headquarters building, and in 1968 the aim of the architects was to design not only a practical building but a ‘bold building for a confident client’.

In their report, English Heritage comment that “though necessarily large in scale, and centrally located in the town, the design is one of humanity, respecting both the townscape in which it was placed, and the employees it was to house…The high budget was reflected in the building’s finishes inside and out. Externally a limited colour palette anduse of York stone cladding gave a homogeneity and showed consideration to the local character of the stone buildings of Halifax. Internally, materials were high quality and colour co-ordinated, with landscaping to both the public ground-floor spaces and the executive fourth floor.”

Both at the time it was built and today, Halifax HQ has been recognized for its progressive design. When it was first completed, it won a British Steel Corporation Steel Design Award (1974), the RIBA Award for Architecture (1975), and the European Architectural Heritage Year Award (1975). Following its 1997 refurbishment by BDP, it also won the Manchester Society of Architects Award (1997), the BCO Award (2000), and the National Lighting Award (2000). It was also recognized internationally, having been featured in German design magazine Baumeister.