Year | 2021
Location | Birley, Sheffield, UK
Clients | Friends of Birley Spa

Birley Spa is a grade II listed Victorian bathhouse nestled into a green valley in the middle of a housing estate. A natural spring flows through the site, connecting it to Shirebrook Valley Nature Reserve. Following years of decline due to lack of funding, Sheffield City Council intended to sell the community asset in 2018. This motivated the formation of the Friends of Birley Spa, a volunteer group that is committed to the restoration of the bathhouse and its grounds. Our client for the project was the vice-chair of the Friends group, Fiona, who we worked closely with to develop a vision for the future of the site.

Through expanding our brief, three strands to the project emerged organically; Discover, Improve and Re-imagine. During our research phase to ‘Discover’ more about Birley Spa, public consultation and wider engagement strategies were core to the project. These helped us gain an understanding of how the spa and its grounds are viewed by local people and to inform design outcomes for its future. We then developed proposals to ‘Improve’ the spa and site in the short-term with limited funding. Finally, our third phase aims to ‘Re-imagine’ the site in a more long-term and aspirational vision that we hope will continue the legacy we have envisioned for Birley Spa.

The Live Project team has produced a recommended action plan, outlining proposals that can restore Birley Spa back into functional use and develop the wider site as a holistic strategy. The action plan presents a single aspirational vision that aims to encourage more social ownership over Birley Spa as a community asset. Our team has produced documents for each phase of the project, incorporating proposals for Birley Spa to be a community hub, a destination for social prescription and a centre for connecting the public to nature.

Our project has showcased the success of public consultation through creating tangible evidence of the possibilities that can be achieved with limited resources and funding. We believe that our collective vision encourages Sheffield City Council to engage the opportunity for future consultation with neighbouring communities and through this secure a future of the unique heritage asset.

Part 1 Project Website:

Part 2 Project Website:


Mentor: Danni Kerr
Client: Friends of Birley Spa
Location: BBirley, Sheffield, UK
Students: Rui Ding, Irene Furlanetto, Yifan Su, Iris Wong, Holly Baines, Yuxin Xiao, Amelia Little, Peter Tomson, Camillo Cavarretta, Adam Kerrod, Qianling Li, Elliott Forster, Hiroki Takiguchi