Marks & Spencers Archive, University of Leeds

Marks & Spencers Archive, University of Leeds

Proteus HR
Broadway Malyan

A stunning mirror-finish skin of stainless steel is helping to protect the corporate archive of one of the biggest names on the British High Street.

The new purpose-built home of the M&S Company Archive at the University of Leeds features extensive use of Proteus Engineered Facades’ HR rainscreen cladding system which combines all the benefits of a Modern Method of Construction with the beauty of “bronze”.

The £6million Michael Marks Building on the university’s Western Campus follows the golden rule of architectural design “Form follows function”, combining within the façade the high strength, low maintenance and excellent corrosion resistance of stainless steel with a visually contemporary finish.

The 3D façade was designed by the university’s master planners Broadway Malyan Architects to represent the pages of a book or folds of a dress (some of the materials stored within) but although it appears highly complex, the brief response was to create a semi-unitised panel that could be installed onto a single-plane support system, reducing the complexity and time needed to install the façade.

Broadway Malyan were looking for an envelope system that would give the variety of panel sizes required for their design as well as flatness, a mirror finish and long-lasting aesthetics, with Proteus HR’s lightweight aluminium honeycomb core providing a perfectly flat finish coupled with very large panel sizes and recessed joints.

Marks and Spencer “shadow” architects Darnton EGS said: “The project uses various innovative measures to achieve its BREEAM and sustainable status. However, the rainscreen façade system is a unique feature. The architects worked closely with Proteus Engineered Facades to develop a way of using the cladding systems in such a 3D manner. “The panels are very robust but lightweight, thanks to the aluminium honeycomb core structurally bonded to the lightweight metal skin. The façade consists mainly of two modular size panels, with dimensions carefully designed to suit metal sheet sizes.”


M&S moved its company archive containing more than 70,000 items from London to its new 19,000ft2, three-storey home at the University of Leeds to help make it fully accessible to the public for the first time while also opening it up to academics and students for research, teaching and learning.

"The new Michael Marks Building will be a fantastic resource for staff and students, the company and community."

Professor Michael Arthur
Vice-chancellor, Leeds University
Stainless Steel Rainscreen Cladding
  • Stainless Steel Rainscreen Cladding
  • Stainless Steel Rainscreen Cladding