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Exclusive: Carmody Groarke wins £21m Park Hill gallery contest

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Carmody Groarke has been selected ahead of a shortlist of rising UK stars in the competitive tender process to design a £21 million cultural centre within Sheffield’s Park Hill estate

The winner was chosen ahead of rival bids by 6a Architects, David Kohn Architects, Caruso St John, Architecture 00 and Dow Jones Architects to win the prestigious S1 Artspace-backed commission.

The studio will now receive an estimated £950,000 contract to draw up plans for a ‘national flagship’ arts venue within the Grade II*-listed Brutalist housing estate, which is mid-way through a major regeneration led by developer Urban Splash.

The Park Hill Art Space will occupy a large former residential block overlooking Duke Street at the northern end of the 160ha site. It will provide a permanent new 7,200m² home for local charity S1 Artspace, currently based inside Park Hill’s disused Scottish Queen public house.

S1 Artspace artistic director, Louise Hutchinson said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Carmody Groarke to transform our vision for Park Hill Art Space into a design that we hope will capture the imagination of audiences both locally and nationally. The quality of the shortlisted proposals was extremely impressive, which reflects the enormous potential of this project and continued interest in Park Hill. We very much look forward to working with Carmody Groarke on this exciting project.’

Carmody Groarke director Andy Groarke said: ‘We are extremely proud to have been selected by S1 Artspace to work with them in developing their vision for an international public art venue and artists’ studios. Making S1 Artspace an integral part of the future of Park Hill will be hugely important for the growth of the arts and the cultural economy of Sheffield, and will safeguard the listed buildings’ future with creative transformation.’

Park Hill was originally completed in 1961, designed by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith under the supervision of city architect John Lewis Womersley. It replaced a large area of back-to-back housing on a prominent hill-top site overlooking the South Yorkshire city. The entire estate – which featured 995 flats and maisonettes, four pubs and 31 shops – was listed Grade II* in 1998.

Hawkins\Brown with Studio Egret West completed the first Stirling Prize-shortlisted phase of the project in 2013, featuring 260 homes, 3,000m² of commercial space and a nursery.

The £25 million second phase, by Mikhail Riches Architects and featuring 200 homes and 2,500m² of business space, was submitted for planning earlier this year. Later phases include a £20 million student accommodation scheme.

The Park Hill Art Space will feature studios for artists and creative businesses, a research institute, an auditorium, learning space, archive, live-work flats, a production workshop, café, shop and an outdoor sculpture park. It is scheduled to complete in 2022.

Key elements of the project include external repairs to the envelope, a double-height extension and openings in the existing building fabric for double-height spaces and a new stair and lift core.

The jury included Hutchinson; Urban Splash creative director Jonathan Falkingham, Stephen Escritt of Counterculture; V&A design director David Bickle; Neil Jones of the City Regeneration Division at Sheffield City Council; and Satwinder Samra, S1 trustee and director of collaborative practice at Sheffield School of Architecture.

This latest commission comes less than a month after Carmody Groarke completed its new members room at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Last week the practice also won planning for a 20-storey tower in Paddington, central London.

The shortlist

  • 6a Architects
  • Architecture 00
  • Carmody Groarke
  • Caruso St John
  • David Kohn Architects
  • Dow Jones Architects
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