Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Four minutes...

So I missed voting in the BBC's Stirling Prize poll by that. Four minutes. Frustrating since I'd basically made up my mind on seeing the video of the Park Hill rennovation but I wanted to be fair so I watched the others too. 

It doesn't matter of course - RIBA's judges won't be paying a blind bit of notice to the BBC's poll but it's frustrating all the same. 

That said I'm glad I looked around the other entries - some fantastic buildings in there and each of the little mini documentaries was nicely put together. Newhall Be and Astly Castle especially caught my eye... but whether it's regional bias or my deep rooted fondness for brutalist architecture I couldn't say, but Park Hill is the stand out for me. 

Growing up in South Yorkshire, Sheffield was where we went to shop, when real shopping was required. As a kid of course "real shopping" meant toy shopping (invariably only near birthdays and xmas) and toy shopping in my childhood meant Redgates. Perhaps then the stirring I get from views of Park Hill, high on it's bluff overlooking Sheffield has as much to do with seeing it from the car window on such trips? My own personal Colossus of Rhodes standing sentinel over Sheffield Parkway signalling we'd reached the place where all the toys were...


I'd like to think it has at least something to do with the aesthetics and the purpose of the project as well - seeing that yearning post-war optimisim inherent in the building reinvigorated and made new for a C21st audience is really exciting. The honesty of the design is refreshing too - the bare concrete features in some of the interiors (yes Virginia, concrete can be beautiful!) and the way the simple, large windows and bold colour panels play with the strong lines of the original structure. 

Regardless of it winning the award I really hope the project continues, and the whole estate gets this new lease on life. 

No comments: