Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Park Hill

In 1957 construction began on Park Hill, a council housing estate located in Sheffield. The construction was finished in 1961 and was received positively by the local community. What made Park Hill different from a lot of the large housing estates of the time was not just the architecture but also the sense of community.

When rehoming entire communities into a new building it wasn’t uncommon at the time for the people in charge to spilt entire communities up. However Park Hill was different as not only were neighbours able to be re-homed next to one another but the old street names from the previous area were also re-used, thus keeping the sense of community.

Although the building was initially seen as modern and offered better facilities than the current alternative at the time, decades later the building started to show its age and was in need of re-development. The building was listed in 1998 and is now being renovated by Urban Splash.

Its so common for people to quickly dismiss the future possibilities of just about any building made post-war. If its showing its age, best just to knock it down yeah? Eventually there will be a void in history when it comes to looking back at post-war buildings - particularly when it comes to social housing. Whilst some buildings can not be renovated because they are structurally unsound, the ones that aren’t should be preserved.

Although still in development, Park Hill is a great example of what can happen to architecture if people were willing to see beyond the surface and think. Although demolishing is often cheaper/easier - Plymouth Hoe Centre?


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