Adventures in architecture

Suitable for:11 to 16, 16+

Way back in the 1970s our city was home to some of the most radical modernist architecture in Europe. A lot of Sheffield’s most imaginative buildings are gone now, but developments like Park Hill and Gleadless Valley were revolutionary. Their ambitious design and their focus on community are unequalled to this day. So who are the architects who will take Sheffield into the future?

Design a building

Could you design a Park Hill for the 21st century? Try out model making, sketching and/or make a video of your ideas. Use a journal to explain the reasons behind your design decisions.

Or re-use an old one

Cutlery Works, one of the city’s most popular venues for food, drink and socialising used to be a cutlery factory. And Kommune on Castlegate is a great example of how modernist buildings, in this case the old Co-Op, can be re-used.

See if you can come up with a new use for an old building. You could use photos and video to show your ideas. What will your building bring to the city in its second life?
Who will benefit from it?

Architect’s tips 

1. Think about where your building is. How does it fit into the landscape? How will it blend into the area without disrupting it?

2. Find a site that makes the most of a panoramic view. Sheffield is all hills so it has millions of them.

3. Think about materials: what’s it made out of and why?

4. Think about light. Which direction does your building face? How does it make the most of natural light?

5. Think about people. What facilities does your building have? How does it help residents socialise, get to know each other and build a strong sense of community?

Share your ideas using #sheffieldarchitecture


Museums Sheffield have posted a great video about one the most talked about buildings in Sheffield, Park Hill.

To get an idea of how Sheffield’s radical architecture used to divide opinion, watch this video about the Egg Box.

A great way to find out about our city’s history of radical architecture is to ask people who were there. Did your grandparents get married in the Wedding Cake? It was just off Arundel Gate, next to the Egg Box. And why did everyone go to the Hole in the Road on Saturdays?

Sheffield Modern is a festival that celebrates the city’s architectural legacy and gets people together to talk about the future.

Could architecture be the career for you? Both Sheffield’s universities have vibrant schools of architecture. Find out more about Sheffield Hallam’s courses here, and the University of Sheffield’s – recently voted the best architecture school in the UK – here.