Park Hill tours a hymn to brutalist architecture in Sheffield

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Guided tours of Park Hill flats will form part of a national, 10-day examination of brutalist architecture.

From September 25 the trust is offering tours of the best of Britain’s brutalist buildings, which could well be the organisation’s properties of the future.

At Park Hill, the walks will explore the post-war context of Sheffield, the slum housing the flats replaced, the utopian visions of its young architects, the attempts to build and retain communities, the changes in politics and fashion that led to the area’s decline, and the more recent story of regeneration.

The tours will also include exclusive access to an original, undeveloped flat - normally off limits to the public - as well as one of the recently restored flats.

Part way through a big redevelopment programme, Park Hill is the largest listed building complex in Europe.

Completed in 1960 the flats, which housed some 3000 people at their peak, were celebrated as an exemplar of Brutalism, social housing and the newly-formed welfare state in built form in the years immediately after they opened.

Other tours will take place at the Southbank Centre in London and the University of East Anglia campus in Norwich.

Joseph Watson, the trust’s London creative director, questioned what the group could do with the whole of Park Hill, but added: “You can envisage a time when we took over parts of social housing.”

The Sheffield tours are on September 25, 26 and 27, on the hour from 11am to 4pm, beginning and ending at the former Scottish Queen pub. Tickets are £7 for adults, £6 concessions.