Park Hill, Sheffield


Park Hill, Sheffield

Park Hill is a council housing estate in Sheffield, England. Designed by Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith and built between 1957 and 1961, the deck access scheme, inspired by Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation and the Smithsons' unbuilt schemes, most notably for Golden Lane in London, was viewed as revolutionary at the time. Construction is of an exposed concrete frame with yellow, orange and red brick curtain walling. However, as a result of weathering and soot-staining from passing trains, few people realise this and assume the building to be constructed entirely from concrete.

The concept of the flats was described as "streets in the sky". Broad decks, wide enough for milk floats, had large numbers of front doors opening onto them. Each deck of structure, except the top one, has direct access to ground level at some point on the sloping site. The site also allows the roofline to remain level despite the building varying between four and thirteen stories in height. The scheme also incorporates a shopping precinct and a primary school.

Park Hill was previously the site of back-to-back housing, known as "Little Chicago" in the 1930s, due to the violent crimes sometimes committed there. This was partially razed before World War II.

Further housing schemes were completed to similar designs, including Hyde Park and Kelvin in Sheffield. Although initially popular and successful, over time, the fabric of the building has decayed somewhat and some other disadvantages of the estate, such as poor noise insulation and easy getaway routes for muggers, have become apparent.fact|date=November 2007 For many years, the council have had difficulty finding tenants for the flats. However, the complex remains structurally sound, unlike many of the system built blocks of the era and was Grade II* listed in 1998 making it the largest listed building in Europe. Sheffield City Council hoped this would attract investment to renovate the building, but this was not initially forthcoming. A part-privatisation scheme by the developer Urban Splash to turn the flats into upmarket apartments, business units and social housing is now under way. Two blocks (including the North Block - the tallest part of the buildings) have been cleared.

Even now, inhabitants of Sheffield are split on the matter of Park Hill; many believe it to be a part of Sheffield's heritage, while others consider it nothing more than an eyesore and blot on the landscape. Public nominations led it to the top 12 of Channel 4's Demolition programme. Other television appearances for the flats include Police 2020 and in an Arctic Monkeys video.

Park Hill is also the name of the area in which the flats are sited. The name relates to the deer park attached to Sheffield Manor, the remnant of which is now known as Norfolk Park.

ee also

*Byker Wall, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
*Prora, Rügen, Germany
*Falowiec, Gdansk, Poland
*Karl-Marx-Hof, Vienna, Austria

External links

* [http://www.urbanassault.t83.net/#/parkhillflats/4526592656/ Exploring Park Hill Flats]
* [http://www.open2.net/modernity/3_12.htm From Here To Modernity: Park Hill]
* [http://www.leegarlandphotography.co.uk/series/parkhill/index.htm Lee Garland Photography shots of Park Hill, 'King Of The Hill' Oct 07]
* [http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_6qR0exy3EU Are Urban Splash taking the urine out of Park Hill?]


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