Sheffield Hallam University’s Facilities Directorate manages more than 50 buildings across two campuses and numerous other smaller sites. Over the last 10 years the University has been investing in infrastructure, constantly updating its facilities with the aim of creating vibrant, modern, flexible spaces that benefit all those studying at, working at or visiting Sheffield Hallam.
Buildings range from state-of-the-art new builds to historic Grade II listed buildings. Between 2012 and 2015 around £100 million was invested in Future Spaces. So far this year two major developments have opened while two more are ongoing with a view to completion in the next couple of years.
Sheffield’s former Head Post Office had been empty for 15 years and in danger of demolition before opening its doors as the Sheffield Institute of Arts in January 2016. The Grade II listed building, which dates back to 1897, had fallen into a state of dereliction but has been sympathetically restored and retains many of its original features including glazed bricks, wooden floors and the eye-catching spiral staircase.
The space has been configured into several open, flexible studio spaces which can be transformed for a variety of teaching, learning and workshop activities and provide discipline-specific studios, workshops and exhibition spaces. The site has been developed by Langland Estates, which has agreed a long lease with the University. The architect of the project was Axis Architecture and the contractor was m3.
A few months later in April, Sheffield Hallam’s new £32 million Charles Street Building opened to staff and students. Home to the Sheffield Institute of Education, the 7-storey building provides state-of-the-art teaching, learning and social spaces including a 268-seat lecture theatre, flexible classrooms and outdoor terraces. The architecture reflects the site’s metalworking heritage through a number of features, including gates with a deer antler pattern and a corten steel roofline designed to rust over time, giving the top of the building a distinctive colour.
The innovative eye-catching design includes a specially-commissioned bridge, created by designer Corin Mellor, connecting Charles Street to the neighbouring Arundel building. A public right of way has also been maintained through the building, mirroring the original street. The architect was Bond Bryan and the contractor was Balfour Beatty.
That both of these buildings have already made their mark on the city has been demonstrated with nominations in a number of high profile awards including the biennial Sheffield Design Awards, where both are shortlisted for ‘Best Building’.
In addition to these new openings, the University’s estates development and sustainability team are already looking forward to the future and ongoing projects. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching is set to benefit from a refurbishment of the Sheaf and Eric Mensforth buildings.
The £11m development will include a stunning new atrium linking the two buildings, providing opportunities for galleries, collaborative spaces and social learning; a cutting-edge chemistry lab; modern new engineering provision; and a publicly-accessible environment as a resource for nurturing enterprising, work-ready students. The contractors for this project are Geo Houlton while the architects are Watson Batty.
It is hoped investment in these new facilities will provide a clear sense of place for STEM students and staff within Sheffield Hallam, facilitating a strong academic community and a modern, engaging, collaborative learning environment that will enhance the experience of students across STEM courses.
Finally, the planned opening of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre in 2018 will put Sheffield Hallam at the centre of world-leading research into physical activity. The £15m development is set to become the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world, creating innovations in sport, healthcare, physical activity and leisure to help people move more.