Address: South St | SHEFFIELD | United Kingdom | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 53.38123, -1.45953
Park Hill is a council housing estate in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. It was built between 1957 and 1961, and in 1998 was given Grade II* listed building status. Following a period of decline, the estate is being renovated by developers Urban Splash. The renovation was one of the six shortlisted projects for the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize.
Park Hill was previously the site of back-to-back housing, a mixture of 2–3-storey tenement buildings, waste ground, quarries and steep alleyways. Facilities were poor, with one standpipe supporting up to 100 people. It was colloquially known as “Little Chicago” in the 1930s, due to the incidence of violent crime there. Clearance of the area began during the 1930s but was halted due to World War II.
Following the war it was decided that a radical scheme needed to be introduced to deal with rehousing the Park Hill community. To that end architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith began work in 1945 designing the Park Hill Flats. Inspired by Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation and the Smithsons’ unbuilt schemes, most notably for Golden Lane in London, the deck access scheme was viewed as revolutionary at the time. The style is known as brutalism. Construction is of an exposed concrete frame with yellow, orange and red brick curtain walling. However, as a result of weathering and soot-staining from passing trains, few people realise this and assume the building to be constructed entirely from concrete.
The concept of the flats was described as streets in the sky. Broad decks, wide enough for milk floats, had large numbers of front doors opening onto them. Each deck of the structure, except the top one, has direct access to ground level at some point on the sloping site. The site also allows the roof line to remain level despite the building varying between four and thirteen stories in height. The scheme also incorporates a shopping precinct and a primary school.
In 1997, the property developer Urban Splash took over the building and the decision to renovate the building. Hawkins\Brown Architects and urban designers Studio Egret West was commissioned to renovate the complex. After the renovation the building was shortlisted at 2011 RIBA Stirling Prize Awards.
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