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Forgotten Spaces Sheffield 2011: Shortlist – Norton Prospect Tower and Labyrinth by waparchitects

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A reinvention of Norton Water Tower with lightweight metal spiral access ramps making it into a public prospect tower with a labyrinth laid out on the covered reservoir

The disused Norton Oaks Water tower is a familiar landmark on the Sheffield horizon but few are aware of its history as a public viewpoint. This project proposes re-establishing the Tower’s presence in the city by reinventing it as a pleasure ground for the benefit both of local community and city at large.

The grounds would be opened up with the tower and reservoir as modern equivalents to the English garden device of a folly prospect tower with a view over a garden, referencing local precedents of labyrinths and prospect towers. 

The raised rectangular covered reservoir is transformed into a new formal garden space, a low maze created from cut turf forming a horizontal counterpoint to the vertical spiral of the tower. 

A simple lightweight metal ramp gently winds around the existing concrete tower, presenting changing vistas as it ascends to the roof-top viewing platform. A lift is powered by solar panels, with the existing aerials re-located onto a new mast.

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