Shopping the Park Hill way: Outlet dedicated to Sheffield estate opens in city centre

The redevelopment of Park Hill from a rundown council estate to a colourfully-clad complex of apartments, offices and more has turned the place into a key part of Sheffield’s 21st century brand – so it's only fitting that the Brutalist complex has become the subject of its own retail outlet.

The Park Hill shop has opened on Pinstone Street. Picture: Scott Merrylees
The Park Hill shop has opened on Pinstone Street. Picture: Scott Merrylees

The Park Hill Shop has opened on Pinstone Street, displaying merchandise from designers and showcasing a photo exhibition that focuses on builders who grew up around the Grade II*-listed estate and are now back working on the big revamp.

It all ties in with the scheme’s third phase – the creation of accommodation for 356 students in a large section of the 1960s flats, famous for their 'streets in the sky'.

The student element of the project will be called Béton House and is expected to open in September 2020. Accommodation will be arranged in a traditional town house layout within a managed and secure block, claimed to be a unique offering.

The shop acts as a marketing suite, featuring layouts and a model room highlighting the history of the whole scheme, and is also connected to Sheffield's Off The Shelf book festival. Coinciding with the shop’s launch, a three-minute film from writer Nat Loftus and artist Miriam Stayte was screened celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. This was commissioned by Sheffield University, which runs Off The Shelf with Sheffield Hallam University. Alumno, the student flats' developer, is an associate partner of the event.

Alumno has also asked Otis Mensah, Sheffield's poet laureate, to write a poem in praise of Park Hill that will be displayed on fences and in the landscaped areas of Béton House.

Items from The Modernist Society, S1 Artspace and city artists are on show in the shop, and the first exhibition is by Martin Gray.

"I wanted to make a series of portraits and interviews with people who are regenerating Park Hill," said Martin. "This selection predominantly focuses on builders who grew up in and around the estate, now using their skills to give this extraordinary landmark, already part of so many lives, a role as the hub of a new community in the heart of Sheffield."

Alongside Sheffield University, Alumno has invited artists to bid for a commission to exhibit their work in the shop next year.

The frontage on Pinstone Street has been designed by Ben Kelly, who masterminded the renowned Haçienda club's interiors in Manchester. Ben Kelly and Brinkworth Design have been tasked with overseeing the interiors and the community space at Béton House. The term ‘brutalism’ comes from the French béton-brut, literally meaning ‘raw concrete’, a material that looms large in Park Hill’s appearance.

David Campbell, Alumno's managing director, said: “Our project at Park Hill will allow us to offer a truly memorable living experience for students in Sheffield. They will be able to live in an iconic building and in a brilliant location for the city centre.

“The shop will give everyone in Sheffield a chance to connect with this project and experience the transformation and rebirth of this legacy first-hand. We are planning numerous exciting events throughout the year to help raise awareness of the project.”

The student flats, costing £20 million and designed by Whittam Cox Architects, will be ready by 2020. A planning application for the redevelopment’s fourth phase, primarily a gallery and studios for S1 Artspace, has secured approval. Urban Splash is leading the overall scheme – the completed phase one is home to 600 residents and workers, while phase two is under way and will bring more apartments.

The shop, at 26 Pinstone Street, will be open throughout Off the Shelf which runs until October 26.