Year | 1999
Location | Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
Client | Sheffield City Council
Using a five thousand pound grant obtained by Sheffield City Council the live project group were asked to restore a flat on Gilbert Row, part of the iconic and utopian 1960’s Park Hill housing development in Sheffield. Following the restoration the flat was to be used as a visitor centre.
Our first step was to find out more about the history of Park Hill and its initial tenants. We then had to establish our attitude to the restoration – would we recreate the architect’s vision of the modern ideal or the homes of those moved from slum clearances? The group consensus was to recreate the flat to reflect the way it was actually occupied by residents.
We then divided into three different sections: The first researched the social and historical context of the flat, the second started to source for authentic fittings and furniture, whilst the third began stripping and clearing. The process of stripping and cleaning took longer than expected, but was nevertheless an interesting one. The removal of successive layers of paint and plaster had almost archaeological overtones. When all was left bare, the application of (what we deemed) appropriate finishes began.
Finally, fittings and furnishings were arranged. Although the interior was complete by the end of our allotted four weeks, the rather oppressive anti-vandal shutters, fastened across exterior openings and out of our jurisdiction, still had to be replaced by the city council. It is to be hoped that the city council will attend to these final details so that the flat can be used as intended and made open to the public.