Manpower Services Commission Building – Sheffield
Architect: Property Services Agency
Persistence Works – Sheffield
Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley
Finished in 2001, these art studios are something of a throwback. A lot of the construction in Sheffield recently has had a plasticky feel, often in garish contrasting colours. This building however, has a self-assured simplicity. A long first floor box cantilevers over the ground floor, while towers loom behind. The finish is classic grey concrete, minimally decorated with some metal studding on the towers and a simple artwork consisting of blue lights and protruding ‘hairs’ on one end of the main box.
Geography and Planning Building – Sheffield
Architect – William Whitfield & Partners
Construction – 1970-71
I couldn’t find any information on this building when I originally posted this. But I was contacted by an academic from the Geography department who gave me the dates of construction and the architect. He also sent me some of the original plans and drawings for the building, along with some great photos taken shortly after completion. Apparently it is a “challenging” building to work in, but it can’t be denied that it has character.
The building itself is a cluster of hexagonal structures of various heights attached to a rectangular block. The concrete structure frames sections of brick in a style similar to the Park Hill estate flats. In addition to the use of hexagons, the building has some interesting little features that mark it out, such as the vertical windows which sandwich the concrete piers on the upper floors and the diagrid detailing on the portico ceiling. A small green separates this building from the Arts Tower and, as you can see from the first photo, when the sun is out young scholars recline and take in the views of the surrounding first class modernist architecture.
Arts Tower – Sheffield
Architects: Gollins, Melvin, Ward & Partners
While the raw concrete aesthetic of brutalism was the accepted style for British public sector building in the 60s and 70s, the steel and glass style inspired by the work of German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was popular in the private sector. Somewhat unusually for an educational building of the time, Sheffield Arts Tower clearly displays a Miesean influence, bearing more than a passing resemblance to van der Rohe’s 1958 Seagram Building in New York. The brutalist influence is there however, as the grey blue steel and glass structure sits atop 16 raw concrete piers and a raised concrete walkway links the mezzanine level to the Western Bank library next door.
The building also contains one of the last remaining paternoster lifts in the UK, which is great fun.