It’s time to get creative to tackle ‘Forgotten Spaces’

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A PIONEERING competition to highlight Sheffield’s ‘Forgotten Spaces’ and creative ways of transforming them is being launched today.

Ideas to improve the appearance of anything from wasteland to a disused car park, and from a derelict building to an underpass or flyover, are being invited by Sheffield Hallam University and the Yorkshire section of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The competition is open to architects, designers, artists, planners and local groups and aims to promote both community pride and innovative projects. The organisers hope that winning ideas may eventually attract commercial or council finance.

Already some suggestions of spots for makeovers have come from the council’s community assemblies working with neighbourhood groups.

They include Corker Bottoms, off the Sheffield Parkway and near the Manor, which has allotments, Lynwood Gardens at Broomhall, where residents and conservationists are protecting woodland and wildlife, the old Millhouses Mill buildings in Millhouses Park, which the Friends of Millhouses Park want to see in community use, and a small abandoned grassed area off Arundel Gate near Hallam University’s Owen Building.

It is the first time the contest has been held outside London, with Sheffield chosen because of its record in architectural regeneration in recent years. Organisers say that, although the city is home to some of the best contemporary public spaces and architecture in the region, there are still plenty of overlooked and neglected sites.

The project is being sponsored by development company Creative Sheffield, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, developers British Land and engineers Buro Happold.

Shortlisted proposals will be showcased in an exhibition at the Crucible Theatre in September.

Winners will be awarded £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 and results will be announced at the end of September to coincide with the Stirling Prize, the highest accolade for architecture, which is being held at the Magna Centre in Rotherham on October 1.

Hallam University director of corporate communications, John Palmer, said: “Sheffield Hallam University has a particularly strong reputation in architecture, the built environment and sustainability and we look forward to seeing the entries and proposals to improve and utilise Sheffield’s forgotten spaces for the benefit of the local community.”

Council cabinet member Penny Baker said it was an opportunity “to stimulate imaginative designers to turn their talents to corners of the city which may get missed by big projects and initiatives”.

Visit www.architecture.com/forgottenspacessheffield. Registration deadline is March 30 with entries required by May 12.