Proposed Site in Context

Year | 2019
Location | Fir Vale, Sheffield, UK
Client | Endeavour Centre

Endeavour is a charity who provide alternative education provision for 14-16 year olds who have generally been excluded or missing from mainstream education. They currently occupy a Victorian former school building in Fir Vale in north-east Sheffield, which is an excellent historic building but it has many issues. It has a lot of space inside and out but is greatly underutilised, with confusing circulation, a leaking roof, and parts of the building are in a very poor condition. The initial brief was to provide a long-term vision for the refurbishment of the building, designing with the specific needs of the learners in mind, while also considering the potential for integrating the wider community and income generation.

Our working process consisted of engaging with different stakeholders to gather as much information as possible, above all, trying to reach out to the learners. We ran several engagement activities with them in order to understand their needs and how they currently use the building. We then followed this up with an art session to continue to build trust, and encouraged them to take ownership of the building by displaying the work produced. Our engagement culminated in a series of short-term interventions to improve the quality of environment, where we redecorated their pastoral room, painted signage to improve wayfinding around the building, and tidied up the entrance garden by adding flowers and a new sign. We hope we have re-energised the current staff to continue to make small-scale improvements in future.

Our project outcomes span three time frames: Short-Term Interventions (the physical work we conducted during this project which directly benefited the learners), Next Steps (a proposal for a new satellite workshop building combined with a coherent landscaping strategy), and a Long-Term Spatial Strategy (for the existing building that directly responds to the issues raised by the learners, Endeavour staff and local people). We also constructed a physical model to aid the design process, from initial discussions to representing the final proposal. Along with the model, we provided the client with documents of the vision to assist with their funding applications in future.