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Sheffield architecture

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Océane Acurcio

on 4 November 2012

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Transcript of Sheffield architecture

SHEFFIELD ARCHITECTURE After the decline in traditional local industries, dating back to the 70s and 80s, Sheffield had to renew itself. The 21st century witnessed the extensive redevelopment of the city which rapidly changed thanks to new regeneration projects. These projects dramatically changed the landscape of the city center where the architecture is, in some places, quite unusual. But what makes Sheffield architecture so special? One of the aims of the regeneration project was to revitalize the city center while keeping its cultural heritage. It thus combined old buildings with more modern constructions. To illustrate the modern aspect of Sheffield architecture, we chose to describe and analyse the Cheese grater car park and the Winter garden. CHEESE GRATER car park Constructed in 2008 in the heart of the city, the Cheese grater car park was designed by Allies and Morrison's -the London-based architects- part of the regeneration of St Paul's place. The £16m building, in its multiple storeys, contains 520 much needed parking places and is situated at walking distance to the city center. The original pattern of the façade is created through an optical illusion; the metallic elements appear as irregular. In fact, they are all the same: identical aluminium panels mounted in four different orientations.

The result of this peculiar texture is a light and shadow effect which is apparently more evident at night.

Then, the internal faces of the panels are painted green. This color was chosen to reflect the foliage of the trees within St Paul's place. http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/how-the-cheese-grater-car-park-will-make-you-smile-1-252375 <<The building is visible from much of the city. The intelligent lighting design brings the building to life at night time while the design capitalizes on space, making it suitable for a variety of uses.>> http://www.easyoffices.com/blog/index.php/iconic-cheese-grater-in-sheffield-seeks-occupier/3909/ How did the Cheese grater contribute to the regeneration of Sheffield? - FIRST, as the car park is close to Sheffield Train Station and at short walk to the shops, its location is really convenient, allowing more than 500 people to park their cars easily. A car park may not seem that important but it plays an important role in the mobility, access and economic development of a city. Thus, car parking supplies in the city center only makes it more attractive and accessible. Moreover, it is crucial for surrounding businesses that the city provides a high level of accessibility for the visitors (and so, the customers).

-THEN, the Cheese grater helped revitalizing the city center because its architecture is highly innovative and quite striking. The daring creation of the architects barely received neutral reactions. Actually, people either love or hate the Cheese grater. Its futuristic and abstract style is not to everyone's taste. Even a lot of people think it is ugly, it makes them talk about it and that is exactly how the Cheese grater became famous, even in other cities. In short, the Cheese grater car park was successful in trying to give Sheffield a breath of fresh air. The two key elements of the building are its practical aspect and its ability to mark people's memory. The second example of modern architecture in Sheffield is the WINTER GARDEN The winter garden is one of the largest glasshouses in the UK. Situated between the Peace gardens and the Millenium galleries, and the admission being free, it creates a peculiar pedestrian link through the city center. It contains more than 2500 plants from around the world and is large enough to contain 5000 domestic greenhouses. You can also find in the Winter garden the Bessamar Gallery, a shop and a café offering refreshments.

The Winter Garden won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award, the Variety Club of Great Britain Best Regeneration Award and the Royal Fine Art Commission 'Jeu D'esprit Building of the Year' Award and was officially opened by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in May 2003. The Winter garden offers an unusual setting for passers-by and creates a green world, like a bubble, in the heart of the city. The place is calm, warm and far from the tumult of the city, the noises, the rush of day, the stress and the traffic.
It allows visitors to take a break in a nice and agreeable area. To create a coherence between the function of the Winter garden and its shape, the architects tried to design a natural form. The building is constructed on a catenary arch base. The arch is a pure natural form and creates a feeling of protection, of embrace. These arches are made of timber, which is a natural material. It was not only chosen for its physical appearance but also in a symbolic approach; Sheffield being the "steel city" the building needed a brand new material. It had also been chosen for ecological concerns: <<It was a conscious effort on the part of the project team that the plants provide an important reminder of their economic, ecological, medicinal and educational value to mankind. They underline the importance of a careful and balanced use of our planets precious resources.>> http://www.ewpa.com/Archive/2004/jun/Paper_178.pdf
http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/matshef/holmes/MSholmes.htm Thanks to its glass structure, the light
naturally flows into the Winter garden The Winter garden is not only a place with peaceful atmosphere for people to relax. It has got a deeper function, which is cultural. Indeed, containing a wide range of exotic plants, it provides interesting examples of horticulture to educate the public. There are also Millenium gallery exhibitions introduced in the Winter garden. Moreover, the admission is free and this cultural place is thus accessible to anyone. As we wanted to know what people thought about these building,
we created a thread on the Sheffield forum: http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/showthread.php?p=9307583#post9307583 1) What do you think about those buildings? (if you like them or not and why)
2) Do you like that Sheffield architecture is a mix of old and new styles?
3) Why do you think it is important to keep the cultural heritage of the city while revitalizing it by modern buildings? The answers were not as numerous and developed as we expected but here are the forum members' opinion: "I like all the buildings you listed, they're all unique and interesting. Some of the architecture in Sheffield is bloody horrible tho: Park hill flats, the Market, the odean/car park/disused shopping precinct opposite the bus station. Some buildings of Hallam University are a bit rank"

"I like the cheese grater, it's odd - but also interesting, and being in the vicinity of the Hallam union teapots it kind fits in nicely with the quirky buildings there."

"Town Hall: Imposing, stylish, befitting of a city the size of Sheffield.Cathedral: Nice enough, but really just a large parish church. Lacking grandeur.Cheese grater: Visually stunning, bloody awful to park a car in. Form over function.Winter Gardens: Breathtaking, beautiful example of modern building design at its best." "1) I think the Town Hall is a gorgeous building both inside and out - well worth its listed status. I love the Winter Garden - a jewel in the 'city centre' crown. I think the Cathedral has been spoilt by all the new buildings around it (you wouldn't find that happening in York or Lincoln). As for the 'cheesegrater' - it is horrible.
2) Poor planning decisions have ruined Sheffield where 'old' and 'new' have not blended well.
3) We should preserve historical buildings when getting the balance right in future developments"

"I think that Sheffield has some beautiful architecture , The cheese grater on the other hand is awful almost as bad as the Eggbox they demolished .Some of the new high rise flats made from glass just do not do it for me .Will these still be standing in a Hundred years . The Town hall is magnificent as are the buildings opposite on Pinstone st .There are some lovely old building in the back streets ,Boston st has some great buildings that use to house the Little Mesters. We need to cherish these buildings as we can never get them back once they are gone .The Winter gardens are a wonderful example of what can be achieved so lets have more like it .Good luck with your studies ." "I may be in a minority but I really like the Cheese grater car park (although I prefer to call it the Door Chimes). It makes what could be an ugly multi-storey car park interesting. I think it sits well on Arundel Gate with its variety of modern, architecturally interesting buildings (eg. University library, Novotel, Millennium Galleries)." Synthesis of the answers A majority of people seems to prefer the old building, believing that the cultural heritage of Sheffield architecture should not be spoilt by modern and "ugly" constructions.
Yet, the Winter garden, which is of a modern style , seem to have unanimous support as people adopted both the building and the concept. To conclude, it seems like Sheffield succeeded in renewing itself. The regeneration projects intended to create architectural changes and cultural attractions. Sheffield thus offered alternatives to the usual greyness and triviality of the city center while keeping its historical and cultural heritage. The first part of the presentation is going to focus on the cultural heritage of Sheffield that can be find in its architecture. We chose to work about the Town Hall and the Cathedral. SHEFFIELD TOWN HALL Sheffield Town hall is a significant and impressive building in Sheffield. It was constructed in 1886. Erecting this prestige monument to the municipality lasted seven-year (1890 to 1897). The building was designed by E. W. Mountford. The Town Hall was officially opened on 21st May, 1897 by Queen Victoria, thereby replacing Sheffield Old Town Hall which was converted for use as a court. This magnificent building is located in the heart of the City center. EXTENTIONS 1-Four years after the official opening of the Town hall, a first extension was discussed. First Mr. Mountford was asked again to prepare plans for it, but the extension was realized after decades due to lack of financial support and the outbreak of the First World War. Finally the annexe was designed by F. E. P. Edwards and was completed in 1923. The Prince of Wales opened the extension on 29th May, 1923.

2-The next annexe was planned in the late 1930s, but it was subsequently put on hold because of the Second World War. Instead of this, the Peace Gardens were made at this place.

3- In 1977 a next building was built, which was very modern. This modification was immediately unpopular and it resulted in demolition in 2002 and replaced by Sheffield Winter Gardens.

Sheffield Town Hall has a charming Clock-tower which is 64 metres high. It was the tallest building in Sheffield until 1965, when the Arts Tower was built. There is a figure of Vulcan, the mythical God of Fire, on the top.

The exterior walls are made of "Stoke" stone obtained from the Stoke Hall Quarry in Grindleford. The walls are decorated with carvings and decorative features by F. W. Pomeroy. The same "Stoke" stone was used for the interior of the building which is mixed with Ancaster and Coxbench Stone.

The Main entrance is made of the principal arch and iron gates which were designed by E. W. Mountford. We can find there two figures, symbolizing Electricity and Steam, holding a scroll with the names of the inventors - Watt, Stephenson, Wheatstone, Davy, Faraday, Edison and Swan.
Dominant features of the Main entrance hall are marble staircase with a balustrade of alabaster and the repetitive archways. The carving in the Main entrance hall refers to a local legend of the Dragon of Wharncliffe, and relates to power struggles of the past between the Earls of Wharncliffe and the lords of More Hall.
The main function of this imposing building is headquarters of local government; it means Sheffield City Council is located in this building. There is the office of the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, called The Parlour, which is situated on the first floor. The Lord Mayor receives important visitors in this beautiful chamber which has lots of distinctive features, for instance fireplace with carvings, paintings, porcelain and gifts given to the city. Other beautiful chambers can be found there, for example, the Committee rooms and the Conference room, which are used for meetings of Council Members and Officers very frequently. Not all the departments of the Council are in the Town Hall, some of them can be found on other places. There are wedding, meeting and conference rooms in the Town Hall which are available to hire by public. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield_Town_Hall
Sheffield Town Hall is thus a gift from History and is deeply rooted in the past, as making references to it through its architectural symbols. Its history dates back to Norman times. It was then just a small parish church on top of a hill overlooking Escafeld Castle. It was elevated to cathedral status at the creation of the diocese in 1914. The Cathedral is located in the city center. At the end of World War One, plans were discussed to enlarge the building (like enlarging it and constructing a new tower). Several chapels, a crypt and a sanctuary surround the building. SHEFFIELD CATHEDRAL The Cathedral is cruciform (=shaped like a cross) and the nave and transepts intersect at the tower whose piers and arches dominate the building. Few extensions were made until 1966. Some parts of the Cathedral are really old, dating back to the 11th Century. It is partly made of stones from a Norman church (11th to 12th Century) One of the greatest element of the Cathedral architecture is obviously its "Lantern Tower" At the west end of the nave, the Lantern roof comes down into the Cathedral, and remind any visitor of the suffering of Christ. <<The glass (1998) by Amber Hiscott is an abstract interpretation of how resurrection and the Holy Spirit (golds and reds) transforming human conflict and struggles (blues and violets) and leading to healing and growth (greens).>>

The multiple colors of the glass illuminates the interior. http://www.sheffieldcathedral.org/visiting/architecture-cathedral-chapels.php?PHPSESSID=2e8235fd3a62f468bd8deb024a33723d In spite of all the renovations that have been made on the cathedral, the building does not seem to receive the success it deserves. In September 2010 it was announced that a Heritage Lottery Fund would be organized to raise funds realize a £1.25 million scheme to make the building more attractive to visitors. Sheffield struggled to attract outsiders in betting on innovation and modernity while still keeping its historical heritage in renovating the old buildings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield_Cathedral#Art_and_architecture
Sheffield Cathedral is still today a centre of worship, community and learning. It provides learning opportunities for all groups and welcome children, scholars, young people, students and adult learners. Sheffield Cathedral is claimed to be an "ideal resource for developing understanding in a range of subjects such as history, art, geography and religious education."

Situated in the city centre, is is accessible to anyone. Yet, some people despise its location, thinking that a jewel like the cathedral is spoilt by its environment because it is surrounded by shops. A man on a website commented: "Once inside Sheffield Cathedral it's very difficult to come to terms with the fact it's now surrounded by shops, office blocks, city centre roadways etc. because inside it's so very, very peaceful and quiet. So quiet in fact it's paradise." http://www.qype.co.uk/place/198968-Sheffield-Cathedral-Sheffield
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