The best design in the world?

Park Hill, Sheffield update.....  ..'See Story Martin Slack Picture by Chris Lawton'1st Sept  2011
Park Hill, Sheffield update..... ..'See Story Martin Slack Picture by Chris Lawton'1st Sept 2011

SOME people in Sheffield would prefer them to be demolished but Park Hill flats have made the shortlist of the world’s biggest architecture competition.

Regeneration of the high-rise blocks – the biggest listed building in Europe – will be judged against 16 residential projects including a factory conversion in Istanbul, dam-side villas in Portugal, a city centre complex in Qatar and an eco-friendly development in India.

The World Architecture Festival Awards are designed to “celebrate architectural excellence the world over and allow architects to showcase their talent and their unique responses to the ever-changing economic climate”.

WAF programme director Paul Finch added: “There is now an increasing need for innovative approaches to architecture, inspiring architects and designers to think in new ways about buildings.”

The innovative – and controversial – makeover now being given to Park Hill on the basis of designs by London-based architects Hawkins-Brown has made the overall shortlist of 281 after 704 entries were submitted from 59 countries. It is nominated in the future residential category.

Architects will present their designs an international judging panel in Barcelona in November.

The first phase of the redevelopment of Sheffield’s 50-year-old monolithic structure by Urban Splash has now been completed, and 78 apartments, included 26 for ‘affordable’ rent, are due to go on the market next month with prices starting at £90,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Also being released are 40,000 sq ft of commercial space for offices, shops, bars and restaurants. Money from sales is intended to help finance the renovation of the rest of the complex, which comprises 995 flats, landscaping and connecting bridges.

The first residents are due to move into their new homes next year.

Meanwhile, Urban Splash has submitted revised details of proposals to demolish, refurbish and reconfigure remaining blocks. The scheme includes a multi-storey car park and shops, cafes/restaurants, bars, takeaways, offices and medical and education centres.

The £146m scheme is being financed by Urban Splash and the Government Homes and Communities Agency.

lPark Hill Flats will become a temporary nightclub on Friday, September 30 from 10pm to 4am when hundreds of revellers are expected to go to a one-off techno party in empty offices in the refurbished block.

Promoters Tom Banham, Oli Tyndall and Chris Whitehall, who run nights at the Harley Hotel in Glossop Road, have already organised an event in an empty warehouse in Shalesmoor.

Tom said the Park Hill party will be in “a long, concrete hallway, a space that captures the fact that Park Hill will become a living space while still embodying an underground aesthetic.

“Even apart from what Park Hill means to Sheffield, to have an event outside a club, somewhere different and exciting, adds a whole new element to any party.”