Velvet Mill
Lister Mills, Bradford

Built in 1873, Lister Mills wove silk and velvet until the 1990s and has been redeveloped into residential and commercial space. A key feature is the 100m long two-storey line of penthouses, designed to mirror the twisting shape of a plaid of woven silk.

The extension to the building is a challenging shape, in a difficult place to access. We worked with David Morley Architects to create a geometry based on swept arcs. This system was developed into a network of curved plywood ribs to form the looping geometry of the penthouses.

Groups of these curved ribs form transportable and liftable modules. To avoid using fabrication jigs, a system of bespoke slots in each rib interlocks with cross ribs to ensure the correct alignment of each part.

The timber roof is supported on a two-storey steel frame that also supports both faceted glazing panels and an intermediate long span timber floor.

The two new floors were light enough to be added on top of the structure below without any major modifications to the existing building fabric.

Completed 2010.

Project Information


Urban Splash


David Morley Architects




Joel Chester Fildes

Neil Mitchell

Tim Lucas


IStructE Award, Structural Artistry Commendation 2019