Arup to transform council block into £21m heritage venue

Engineering consultancy Arup has been appointed to transform a block of flats it originally designed over 60 years ago into a £21m arts centre.

The Duke Street block will be transformed as part of the 21m redevelopment project.

The Sheffield-based firm, which designed the city’s Park Hill complex in the 1950s, will turn the former council estate’s Duke Street block into Park Hill Art Space - a new venue for arts culture and heritage, including Sheffield’s largest art gallery.

The 13-storey structure will include live-work flats and studios for artists, a research institute, an archive, shop, cafe and a permanent home for charity S1 Artspace, designed by architect Carmody Groarke.

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The original Park Hill complex which started on site in 1957, was hailed as one of the most ambitious inner city housing schemes of its time.

The Duke Street block will be transformed into Park Hill Arts Space

Park Hill is regarded as a major piece of Brutalist architecture, which resulted in the entire site, comprising of 995 flats, four pubs and 31 shops, becoming grade two listed in 1998.

Arup worked on the 2,300 dwellings scheme from 1953-61, providing civil and structural engineering services, including an in-depth investigation into the abandoned coal workings situated beneath the site.

Greg Hardie, project director at Arup, said: “Park Hill is a project that is close to all our hearts. It is one of the reasons why we established an office in Sheffield, so we are delighted to be part of Park Hill’s transformation.

“This new flagship arts venue will help put Sheffield on the map as a top arts and culture destination, both nationally and internationally.

The Duke Street block will be transformed into Park Hill Arts Space

“Preserving the existing structure will be centre to the project, to give it another 60 years of life, while also creating the new gallery space on the estate.”

Arup Sheffield will provide structural engineering services and will work closely with architect Carmody Groarke, the designer behind the newly completed V&A members’ room in London.