Harmony Works

Year | 2017
Location | Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Clients |  Sheffield Music Academy & Sheffield Music Hub

Harmony Works Live Project brings together two flourishing Sheffield music organisations; Sheffield Music Hub and Sheffield Music Academy, to propose an exciting new centre for music education and performance in the city through occupation of an empty historic building. This centre would embody the shared belief that Sheffield should be striving further to provide access for young people from all backgrounds to a musical education, in a radical rethink of the normative conservatoire into a new form of music hub. This demanded the development of a cohesive identity, engaging branding, urban design strategies and transferable architectural principles for occupation.

Due to the speculative nature of Harmony Works, the project was cultivated around a shared narrative, rather than being building orientated. This began with the idea of ‘music factory’, rooting the hub in the fabric of Sheffield through adaptive insertions and creative demolition to transcend the ‘Steel City’ identity to form a new identity of ‘Music City’. The tram network was re-imagined as a travelling music venue, entertaining passengers, raising awareness and giving the students an audience and explored through a ‘Tram Jam’, using performance to gather public feedback. Harmony Works would be a node at the centre of Sheffield’s musical (transport) network.

The approach employed for the intervention was to Activate: announcing Harmony Works as a destination, Occupy: creating insertions into the built fabric to enable education and performance to function and Connect: developing the cultural and social life of the city through accessibility to music. These were imagined through the question ‘What If..?’ to illuminate the opportunities within an existing building, using Canada House as a case study.

Continuous collaboration with teachers, students, public and Heads of the Music Hub and Academy enabled the production of a tool kit for accessing funding necessary to manifest the project comprising of a document detailing process, a series of posters, an animation and a collection of workshop outcomes with the students. These have already begun to facilitate new funding opportunities, with the ‘Tram Jam’ idea being used in a recent application and will continue to allow the Music Hub and Academy to share their vision with potential investors, the families of young musicians and the public.

View the animation below:

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