Reading about our "building of great cultural and social importance”
We were grateful to receive a new book by architects Hawkins\Brown this week; It’s Your Building is a beautifully designed tome which looks at 14 of the studio’s most talked about designs. Among them is our Park Hill in Sheffield, the first phase of which was designed by Hawkins\Brown alongside Studio Egret West.
The book tells the history of the building, from the original construction which took place between 1957 and 1961 to the vision of original designers Ivor Smith and Jack Lynn who “believed that architecture had the power to solve society’s problems” - an important perspective at a building like this - an exemplary form of housing, creating “Streets in the Sky” which would give rise to a new community.
Our collective “reinterpretation” of the building is also beautifully told within the book; it reflects on the broadly assumed position of many people in Sheffield in the 1990s that, as with the fate of many post-war buildings, Park Hill would be demolished, and how in 1998 English Heritage’s decision to Grade II List the building assured its future.
A complex process followed with our teams consulting with English Heritage to inject new designs whilst also respecting and preserving much of the buildings preserved fabric - notably its concrete facade which was “stripped back, cleaned and painstakingly repaired”.
The book concludes that Park Hill in its current form is “a fitting tribute to the original architects' ambition to create a place that would benefit the people of Sheffield and improve their lives” and a “much-coveted place in the city, one to be proud of”.
Beautiful images pepper the Park Hill section (and the book as a whole); they show the vibrancy of the community now established here. As we work on creating more new homes in phases 2 and 3, this book is a timely reminder of what has already been achieved in making Park Hill an incredibly exciting neighbourhood and, which according to The Sunday Times, has helped make Sheffield the “northern capital of cool”.
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