Park Hill was built in Sheffield between 1957 and 1961 as one of the largest council owned housing estates in the U.K. The estate was originally designed with 955 apartments planned in several angular slab blocks on a steeply sloped landscaped site, linked laterally by their iconic “streets in the sky”. It was a visionary concept for post-war reconstruction of one of the historically poorest neighbourhoods in Sheffield. Following the city’s pronounced economic decline in the 1980s, the estate suffered from chronic underinvestment and was eventually fully vacated by the mid-1990s. Notwithstanding the ensuing decay, Park Hill was given Grade II* Listed status and remains the largest heritage listed structure in Europe.
Renovation of the original buildings has begun as part of a masterplan for a mixed tenure of public and private housing. The third phase of this redevelopment will be dedicated to cultural use for a major new international arts venue for S1 Artspace.
S1 Artspace will develop 7200m2 of existing buildings into artists’ studios and a purpose built art gallery. The competition winning proposal follows the original architect’s vision of a topographical relationship of architecture to landscape. The brutalist concrete frame of the existing building will be paired back and carefully refurbished to enable the largest most flexible spaces for the production of art. Public realm at ground floor level will clarify new public routes connecting Park Hill to the city centre and make legible entrances and public spaces within the arts venue.
The project was won in open-international competition.