Award winning regeneration company Urban Splash has completed the first Phase at Park Hill in Sheffield; the Grade II Listed building being redeveloped into contemporary homes and workspaces.
Phase I saw Urban Splash, alongside partners Places for People and Great Places, create 260 apartments – 85% of which are sold or occupied, with ten reservations in the last month alone – plus commercial space for 10 businesses and a rolling arts programme. In 2013, its redevelopment was shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize.
Now, as it embarks on plans for a second Phase of the building, Urban Splash has appointed architects Mikhail Riches to undertake new designs which will include up to 200 homes and approximately 30,000 sq ft of commercial space.
Speaking of the success to date Urban Splash Chairman Tom Bloxham MBE said: “Park Hill has been a great success for all involved. We are really pleased with what has been achieved in recent years and look forward to creating more homes and workspaces, plus finding new ways of extending the successful arts programme here to ensure that the building is constantly opened up to the people of Sheffield.”
Mikhail Riches’ appointment comes following a creative six-way pitch, the brief for which was to preserve the legacy and efforts of Phase 1 architect Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West as well as the vision of original architect Ivor Smith, who designed Park Hill with the late Jack Lynn. Mikhail Riches will now have the job of injecting a fresh aesthetic into the next wave of homes and commercial spaces.
Urban Splash Co-Founder and Creative Director Jonathan Falkingham MBE explained: “Park Hill is complicated, it claims to be the largest Grade II listed building in the UK; this is both a huge challenge and an opportunity. With Phase I we were able to transform widely held negative perceptions and to demonstrate that Park Hill could again become an amazing place to live (and through a strong collaboration with our architects it made the Stirling shortlist in 2013). This has created an amazingly strong platform for phase II which we want to use as an opportunity to challenge ourselves afresh by starting from first principles and working with some new ideas."
“We gave each of the six shortlisted architect practices a flat and a two-week window in which they could design it however they wished, before then ‘inviting’ Urban Splash and our partners into ‘their’ home. It’s a process which allowed each practice to see the constraints and opportunities that this building brings as well as allowing us to see realised ideas insitu. It was such a refreshing way of doing things and really stimulating to see the variety of ways each practice chose to tell us about their vision.”
The new Park Hill designs will be evolved by Mikhail Riches with input from Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West who will act as strategic architectural consultants. Jonathan continued: “We are looking forward to working with the team at Mikhail Riches to create a complimentary and striking transformation, so that Phase II can have its own identity. The building can take some new solutions and we envisage an exciting period of planning and design.”
Mikhail Riches was founded by experienced architects David Mikhail and Annalie Riches who specialise in residential development, and have worked with numerous private developers, local authorities, housing associations and are used to working on listed buildings. Speaking of their appointment Annalie said: “It is an enormous privilege to be involved in Park Hill’s resurrection and we are really excited to be the chosen practice for Phase Two. Urban Splash came up with a really novel way of holdng a design competition; by giving us a flat to transform it gave us an opportunity to study Park Hill in detail and it was great fun. Our proposal retained the existing brickwork but made the sculptural qualities of the façade more legible by use of colour, an act that residents had started by painting their own reveals.
“Having studied at University of Sheffield I feel a real affinity with the city, and Park Hill, so it will be fantastic to contribute to the future of this iconic structure.”
Previous Mikhail Riches projects include designing new townhouses at White City a part of the redevelopment of BBC Television Centre. The practice has been the recipient of many awards including five Housing Design awards, RIBA London Building of the Year 2013 and Housing Architect of the Year 2009. (www.mikhailriches.com)
Other shortlisted architects included Alma-Nac, Architecture 00 and Project Orange from London, Group Ginger from Leeds, and Sheffield based OS31. Concluded Jonathan: “We also must thank all the shortlisted architects – we hope they enjoyed the experience as much as we did. It was a riveting architectural competition that generated an exceptional creative standard and something that I think each shortlisted practice deserves great credit for.”