The Star Says: City’s beauty is in the eye of a new guide

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You may think that at least one of these Sheffield landmarks – Park Hill Flats, the university Arts Tower and the Crucible Theatre – is an eyesore.

Undoubtedly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all three are being celebrated in a new Modernist Guide to Sheffield.

As you can read today, the book looks at what, some argue, was an exciting time in architectural design, in the years following World War Two.

But perhaps, like Prince Charles, you see this kind of building as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’.

There’s no doubt that plenty of Sheffield buildings have caused controversy over the years.

Park Hill Flats is at the top of that list but there are plenty more.

The town hall extension nicknamed the ‘egg box’ was detested by lots of Sheffielders and apparently it wasn’t much fun to work in but at least it was eye-catching.

The Winter Garden that replaced the building proved far more popular – so much so that there was an outcry when the St Paul’s Mercure Hotel was put right up against it.

The Crucible wasn’t universally popular when it opened and lots of Sheffielders took their time to get used to the exciting new thrust stage.

They missed the more traditional Playhouse and Lyceum, which hadn’t yet been rescued and restored.

But Park Hill Flats is the one that divides opinion most in the city.

Lots of people were appalled and outraged when it became a listed building because of the innovative way that it was constructed.

It’s ugly and needs pulling down, they raged. What a waste of public money!

However, the first families who moved into the new estate loved their ‘streets in the sky’.

A home in the city centre with amazing views, in a flat that was always warm thanks to the district heating scheme and had a proper kitchen and an indoor bathroom was luxury after life in a back-to-back slum.

Sadly, a combination of neglect of the buildings and social breakdown turned that 1960s dream into a nightmare decades later.

It remains to be seen how popular the new UrbanSplash revamp will be.

However, these buildings were all a testament to a time when the city was looking forwards, not backwards, after the long, dark years of war.

So maybe we should enj0y them and find a way to celebrate our own future.