Together the two firms of architects have worked with developers Urban Splash to address the contradictory demands of conservation and commerce and to bring back to life an unloved Sheffield landmark. The original aspiration of the late 1950s blocks to resemble an Italian hill village had degenerated into a sorry and threatening place to be – the completed first phase once again gives the people of Sheffield and visitors a building that excites and inspires.
The original ‘streets in the sky’ have been made safe with the addition of new security measures and a meter of space has been added to the width to add to the accommodation. Set back doorways and corner windows also humanize spaces that until now were considered no-go areas. The architects have doubled the amount of glazing, while retaining the character of the original concrete. The insides of split-level apartments have been exposed and walls have been removed to fill them with light. The vibrant colored panels borrow from the gradated pastel colors of the original brickwork, lending Corbusian vigour to the facades.
For more information, please visit http://ribastirlingprize.architecture.com/
For video of the project, see http://vimeo.com/70510127