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Sheffield University's revamped Arts Tower re-opens

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Sheffield University’s School of Architecture has returned home to the top of the Grade II*-listed Arts Tower following a major refurbishment of the 78m-tall landmark by HLM Architects

The overhaul of the 1965 building, designed by Gollins Melvin and Ward and still the tallest university building in Britain, began in August 2009.

The entire façade of the skyscraper, which was hailed as a ‘tower of light and learning’ by the Queen Mother at its opening in 1966, was replaced with double glazed units and insulated spandrels ‘with no discernible difference in appearance’.

The Arts Tower’s 56-year-old paternoster has been retained and upgraded and remains the largest of the few still working in Britain.

HLM Architects collaborated with the school of architecture’s own Bureau of Design Research (BDR) to improve the floor layouts, eliminating corridors and opening up spaces wherever possible.

Professor Flora Samuel, head of the School, said: ‘We are really pleased to be moving back to the tower which is such an important part of the school’s identity. The investment made by the University shows a real commitment to the school and to the future of architectural education.’

Read Felix Mara’s technical investigation of the cladding techniques used here.

The school of architecture's studios in the Arts Tower in the 1970s

The school of architecture’s studios in the Arts Tower in the 1970s

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