A stroll around Sheffield
From the concrete jungle known as Park Hill flats to the steel drums, take a tour across the South Yorkshire capital, Sheffield.
Sheffield is a mish-mash of architectural styles. In this walk we guarantee that all the buildings won’t be to your liking, but every place mentioned has some architectural importance, from modernist monstrosities to Victorian charm.
We might as well start with probably one of the most controversial buildings in South Yorkshire...
Park Hill flats
Design historians prance around in their cravats and cuffs praising this as a masterpiece of modernist design and indeed in theory, it works. The Park Hill Estate is perched on a hill overlooking Sheffield, offering one the finest views of the city.
These 'streets in the sky' are an example of design genius; built on a slope, increasing in height as the hill slopes away.
In 1961 it was the brainchild of Ivor Smith and Jack Lynn’s vision was to build a collection of tower blocks designed to preserve the sense of community. It was awarded Grade II listed status in 1998.
The huge snake-like blocks are currently being re-developed by Urban Splash and due to be fully completed 2014/15. Urban Spash are working with architects, Studio Egret West, Hawkins Brown and Grant Associates and turn it in to one of the most desirable places to live and work.
The Showroom and Workstation
In the heart of the Cultural Industries Quarter is the swish Showroom. Not only is this a suave bar and restaurant, but also an independent cinema. The workstation is a selection of offices used by many different companies.
The building was renovated from the 1930s Kennings garage and car showroom building. In 1995, it was opened as a cinema, with two screens, but the focus was refreshingly independent.
The Showroom earned a lottery grant in September 1996, which led to further development. It now shows one of the widest ranges of films in the country.
The Drums, aka The National Museum of Popular Music
Nicknamed ‘The Drum’ this innovative, original and bold, futuristic, exterior was designed by Nigel Cotes. A massive £15m was spent on the build
It was originally opened as The National Museum of Popular Music in March 1999.
As a museum it has failed due to foot fall, closing in July 2000. It then re-opened as Sheffield Hallam University Students Union and offices, as it still stands today.
The Peace Gardens
It is another National Lottery Millennium Commission success story and was revamped as part of the 'Heart of the City' project. The name from was taken from Neville Chamberlain’s declarations of “Peace in Our Time”.
In 2003 it was awarded the Green Flag Award (the national standard for parks and green spaces), which values green spaces in the community.
The public art is inspired by Sheffield and its environment. The bronze water vessels, designed by Brian Asquir, represent the pouring of water and molten mental and the patterned ceramics for the weirs and rills were designed by Tracey Hughes who took inspiration from rivers and streams around Sheffield.
The Town Hall
The Town Hall is a dominant feature of Sheffield’s skyline and is a prime example of Victorian architecture. It was designed by E. W. Mountford in a Northern Renaissance style and officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1897.
It is crowned by a statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and represents Sheffield’s industrial history.
Originally opened in 1897 but restored and reopened in 1990. It is a Grade II listed building with the interior being of particular note especially the decorative stucco detail. Once inside you feel like you’ve been catapulted back to Victorian England and the days of Music Hall.
The Crucible has a reputation as one of the country’s leading repertory
For the record, it is only a snooker venue for three weeks of the year, so save your snazzy waistcoat for then!
The Winter Garden
Slap bang in the middle of Sheffield there is a quiet green oasis. The distinctive arched structure, reminiscent of a partly built cathedral, is a genius piece of architecture and the perfect urban space to relax in.
The curved construction is essentially a massive greenhouse, the largest temperate glasshouse in a European City Centre, situated appropriately at the centre of England’s greenest city. Sheffield can boast of 150 woodlands and 50 parks.
The organic timber structure stands out against an essentially 1960s cityscape and is now probably Sheffield’s most popular recent architectural addition.
It was part of Sheffield’s Heart of the City £120 million project and was designed by Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects, who also designed the Millennium Galleries.
It is a calm and tranquil place to escape to when the hustle and bustle of the city is too much. It has the added advantage of a roof, exotic plants and occasional live music.
Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul
The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul is an interesting building, but looks like it needs a good clean.
Although it is predominantly built in the perpendicular gothic style, part of it is of Norman origin and most of the oldest sections are 15th Century.
The Chapter House contains stained-glass showing scenes of Sheffield History. It gained cathedral status in 1914 and is a Grade I listed building.
It has been rebuilt and extended several times. 1777 saw great things happen in the nave as did the 19th Century, when the nave was extended by a further 25 feet. In the 20th Century Architect Sir Charles Nicholson had great plans, but these were delayed by World War II. After the war a rather incongruous octagonal extension was added.
The Grecian exterior itself is impressive, as is the opulence of the interior, which is why Cutlers deserves a mention. Samuel Worth and Benjamin Broomhead Taylor designed this striking building in 1832. The only trouble is getting in! Most people only usually get the chance to visit for fancy private functions, but if you hang around long enough in a dickie-bow and cummerbund you might be able to sneak in!
City Hall was opened in 1932 as a multi-level concert venue. The façade is neo-classical in style with Doric columns. The interior concert hall has a domed ceiling and seats over 2000. The City Hall comprises of several rooms - The Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall, Memorial Hall, the Ballroom and on level four there are two Hospitality Rooms (Barbirolli & Harris Suites)
The City Hall is a Grade II listed building which had a £12m renovation in 2006
Arts Tower, Sheffield University
Whether you think it is an eyesore or an architectural gem, one thing people do agree on is that the Arts Tower is one of Sheffield’s premier landmarks.
This 1960s construction has a reassuring quality as it gives you a point of bearing in Sheffield.
The 19-story tower stands 255 feet above ground level and is said to be visible from space (apparently but we're not convinced!) It is one of the few post-war constructions to be awarded a Grade II listing.
last updated: 29/09/2008 at 09:30