Park Hill Art Space: Plans for major cultural centre in Sheffield to go on show

London-based Carmody Groarke has been chosen to design the Park Hill Art Space, which will become the permanent home for S1 Artspace.
London-based Carmody Groarke has been chosen to design the Park Hill Art Space, which will become the permanent home for S1 Artspace.

The latest designs for a multi-million-pound cultural centre in a disused wing of Sheffield’s Park Hill flats will go on public display this weekend.

S1 Artspace, which stages exhibitions and provides studios for artists, is working with developer Urban Splash to turn part of the Duke Street block into a major facility containing a new gallery.

Stephen Escritt, strategic development director at S1 Artspace, outside the Duke Street wing of Park Hill. Picture: Dean Atkins

Stephen Escritt, strategic development director at S1 Artspace, outside the Duke Street wing of Park Hill. Picture: Dean Atkins

Alongside the 600 sq m venue there will be studio space for more than 50 people, and a permanent display telling the story of the Grade II* listed, Brutalist complex through a replica of an original flat.

Blueprints for the Park Hill Art Space have been drawn up by London-based architects Carmody Groarke, who previously designed a new members’ room for the V&A museum.

Plans will be shown at S1’s temporary home – a former garage block in the middle of the estate – during a drop-in event from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, when the architects will be on hand to talk to visitors. The proposals will remain on display next week, from Wednesday to Friday, midday to 5pm.

The new-build gallery, which is being likened to the Nottingham Contemporary in terms of its scale, will jut out from the Duke Street wing, joining on to a foyer in what was The Link pub. There will be four or five good-sized rooms on one level.

London-based Carmody Groarke has been chosen to design the Park Hill Art Space, which will become the permanent home for S1 Artspace.

London-based Carmody Groarke has been chosen to design the Park Hill Art Space, which will become the permanent home for S1 Artspace.

Completion is anticipated in 2023/24, a timeline governed by important funding rounds set by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will potentially be meeting much of the cost. This was previously put at £21 million but is likely to be less. 

Urban Splash aims to create more residential housing on the upper floors, in keeping with its ongoing regeneration of the wider estate.

This summer S1 held the critically-acclaimed exhibition Love Among the Ruins, which brought together photographs taken at Park Hill and the neighbouring Hyde Park flats in the 1960s and 1980s. The gallery is now hosting Construction House, a series of exhibitions highlighting the work of artists based at the studios, inspired by the Bauhaus school.

“Park Hill Art Space will provide an exciting new venue for the making and exhibiting of art for the public to enjoy, engage and learn," said S1. “It is part of wider strategic plans to provide ever better infrastructure for art, culture and heritage in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and the wider North.”

The organisation was founded by a group of Sheffield artists in 1995 to offer affordable workspaces and originally operated from rooms above the Corporation nightclub on Trafalgar Street.

It is hoped the new centre will help Sheffield’s arts sector to grow, allowing it to attract funding on a similar scale to other Northern cities like Manchester which is getting The Factory, a £110m arts and theatre hub backed with £78m of Government money.

“Everywhere has seen the value of investing in art as a catalyst,” said S1’s strategic development director Stephen Escritt in July.