Love it or hate it, the city has a bright new beacon


THE giant concrete structure of the Moore Street electricity sub-station will be seen in a different light from tomorrow (Friday).

As the clocks go back this weekend and the nights grow darker, the council and National Grid are flicking the switch to illuminate the building, near Ecclesall Road roundabout, in its new colours.

Bryan Jefferson, the architect of the 1960s building and founder of Jefferson Sheard Architects, still a prominent practice in the city, will be returning to Sheffield in his retirement to join council leader Paul Scriven and Les Adams, National Grid’s maintenance delivery electricity manager, for the ceremony shortly after 6.45pm.

Described as a striking example of 1960s ‘modernism’, the building is not everybody’s cup of tea but it won a number of design awards at the time and is still in excellent condition.

It has become a love-it-or-loathe-it landmark.

Coun Scriven said: “This dramatic scheme has been brought forward at absolutely no cost to the council tax payer. The newly lit building will be a shining beacon for the city and an iconic landmark on the inner relief road.

“Throwing light on this concrete structure adds to a growing set of illuminated landmarks around the relief road including the Wicker Arches, the station, St Mary’s Church and the University of Sheffield, which make it easier to direct people new to the city and create memorable first impressions.”

Mr Adams said it was “an iconic building which has been important in keeping the lights on in Sheffield since the 1960s”.

He said: “It is unusual for sub-stations to be in such a prominent position and so visual to the local community.

“But this building has stood the test of time and it still remains fit for purpose. I hope the floodlighting makes it an attractive landmark for the city.”

Emphasis has been placed on ensuring energy consumption is kept low. The lighting scheme includes the installation of 64 lighting fixtures at two levels on the exterior of the building providing 100,000 light emitting diodes which have a lifespan of between 20 and 25 years. Contrasting internal lights have been installed to the glazed stairwells.

Bryan Jefferson, who became President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, said: “This building was designed at a time of great change and development in Sheffield. Its unusual purpose is reflected in the appearance and, for me, it presented one of the major challenges of my life as a practising architect.

“Fortunately, we were blessed with a first-class contractor – George Longden – who produced a building of quality that remains in good shape to this day.

“I hope that the enterprising illuminations will give added interest to the building as a feature of this important route into the city.”

Funding for the project has come from National Grid, as well as developer contributions, and the lighting installation has been carried out by Kier.

The switch-on marks the end of Sheffield Urban Design Week.

lLandmark Wheel to go, page 11.