Year | 2016
Location | Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Client |  Friends of Sheffield Castle (FOSC)

Since the demolition of Castlegate Market, the site has lay dormant. The ruins of The Sheffield Castle lie below and there is no strategy for the excavation of the ruins, or for the future of the site. Our brief was to not only conserve the physical and historical fabric of Castlegate, but to build on these stories to propose a stimulating vision for the currently purposeless site.

Significant archaeological costs mean that developers are currently unwilling to engage with the site, yet there are also no funds available for the council to complete the archeology themselves. We have termed this the Castlegate stalemate. Coupled with the decaying surrounding context, on the surface there is little hope for the future of the site.

However, we perceive this negative as a major opportunity for the city, the long-term nature of the archaeology creates a unique environment for sustainable bottom-up regeneration. Cities strive for bottom-up regeneration, but it is very rare that plots of land are available for this length of time to develop organically. This will allow Castlegate to mould a vibrant identity, that is fundamentally unique to Sheffield.

We have produced a document which outlines a possible vision for the site, supported by regeneration research and precedents for ongoing FOSC projects. We have also produced a visionary story book, and created the ‘Castlegate Collective’, which became a key output of the project. We have provided a brand and identity for the collective, to cooperatively activate the site and begin the process of facilitating our vision for Castlegate.

Our proposals are driven by existing parameters but are fluid enough to adapt to sensitively accommodate the results of archaeological excavations. We hope that our alternative vision will start to unlock this stalemate and provide the catalyst for the regeneration of the Castlegate area.

The Vision:

There once was a castle who lived in the city

They buried him whole and people took pity

Now he lives there deep underground

Sitting and waiting until he is found

Along came some friends who sought to find him

But without extra help their chances were slim

They gathered a group who entered the site

Equipped with umbrellas, balloons and torch light

They split into teams and started to dig

They found skulls, bones and Mary Scott’s wig

This is a site where no one has been

So they erected a platform so all could be seen

To build momentum they hosted a party

Full of music, beer and all things arty

A group was formed and soon became a collective

A fresh set of eyes and a new perspective

The following morning, they were granted a prize

And the Stairs to the site began to arise

Up shoots “grow Sheffield” with an abundance of flowers

Alongside it appears timber bastion towers

Slowly they began to turn a new leaf

Whilst gently uncovering the River Sheaf

The castle lay dormant… for activity it yearned

And it got just that…. when the bastions were burned

News quickly spread there was a competition to win

A beacon, a landmark to draw out the castle within

Celebration calls for more performance and stalls

New routes and a bridge will also take form

The Bailey began with a few brave takers

Now a beautiful madness filled with the finest of makers

Steeped in history, battles and slaughter

Now reinvented as a creative quarter

The landmark towers are proud, they stand there tall

And life has returned to the Old Town Hall

Whilst development begins to pick up the pace

People move into new homes and establish their place

The Castle sits proud like a knight on a horse

His gates are now open connecting the south T’ North

His Identity uncovered; the battle is won

Castlegate has returned to being vibrant and fun