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Gaggle of starchitects vie for Sheffield New Retail Quarter

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Developer Hammerson has unveiled an all-star cast of architects, including Foreign Office Architects and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, to work on its New Retail Quarter (NRQ) in Sheffield.

Hawkins\Brown, London-based Stiff & Trevillion and Pick Everard have also been selected to draw up schemes for a series of sites within BDP's existing 8ha city-centre masterplan.

The firms will work alongside Irish starlet O'Donnell & Tuomey - picked last year by Hammerson to design the 25,000m2 flagship John Lewis store at the heart of the ambitious £500 million retail-led development.

Hailed as a 'major redesign' of the city centre between Barkers Pool and Moorhead, the scheme will eventually create 100 new shops, almost 200 residential apartments, a health club and leisure facilities.

The developer has publicly declared its intention to use a range of top-quality architects on its schemes - an approach it also hopes to pursue on the Terry Farrell-masterplanned Eastgate and Harewood Quarter in Leeds.

To help with the selection process on the NRQ development, the company brought in academic Jeremy Till from Sheffield University to oversee a two-day workshop with a gaggle of prospective architectural teams.

Hammerson's managing director Jon Emery said: 'The vision for the NRQ has always been one of varied, exciting and stimulating design, and it is hugely important we have a team that can work collaboratively together to deliver this.

'The New Retail Quarter will create a vibrant and diverse urban landscape that attracts visitors from across the region. Excellence in design, of buildings and public spaces, is pivotal to achieving this, which is why we have focused significant time and energy on ensuring we have the best architects in place.'

The practices' initial designs are expected to be unveiled in the autumn, and work is likely to start in 2008.

by Richard Waite

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