A destination within the Castlegate Park

Year | 2014
Location | Sheffield, UK
Client | Sally Cuckney (Development Officer), Matthew Hayman (Planning Department), Andrew Skelton (Public Art Officer), Sheffield City Council

The decision to demolish Castle Market has been one surrounded by controversy. This is despite plans to transform it into a heritage park centred around the castle ruins. In light of this we have worked in a sensitive manner, uncovering the past and looking towards a prosperous future.

The Castlegate area is a contentious site, with a wide range of stakeholders. Our client, Sheffield City Council, recognises the need for them (as a council) to re-engage with the people.

During the process of transformation the Council intends to employ ‘meanwhile’ strategies to raise awareness of developments in the Castlegate area in the coming 5 years.

As part of this strategy, we were asked to design an accessible and mobile viewing platform, to interact and involve the public with the demolition and much anticipated castle excavations.

We have created a street-level proposal that explores the relationship between the private building site and the public realm. We found the title of a ‘viewing platform’ too defined, and early on in the project opted for the looser approach of an installation. This challenging of the brief allowed us to circumvent the problems associated with the act of elevating people to a higher level.

Simplicity was key to the client so the design developed into a series of mirrors, adjustable from street level through a low-tech pulley system. The angle of each mirror can be manipulated by the user to achieve a myriad of different views over the hoarding.

Alongside the installation a hoarding strategy has been developed, encouraging passive and active interactions, looking at the sites past and encouraging the public to think about the future.

The Live Project totally changed the brief from a standard platform to an accessible, secure and simple installation, engaging with the people and the place, requiring only simple management.

The agreed output with our client was a detailed concept design proposal. Our hope is that from here it is developed into a built scheme, revealing Castlegate and changing perspectives.

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