Green walls, food markets and flowers that bloom for students – the details of Sheffield Hallam University’s new campus

Sheffield Hallam University has unveiled detailed plans for its major new campus including a city centre green space for the public.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:18 pm

The planning application includes blocks A, BC and D which are all sited close together within the university’s City Campus on the former Science Park and car park at Howard Street.

The blocks are planned around a new public area provisionally named University Green on Arundel Lane which will have space for up to 150 people to sit and relax.

Block D will become a key civic gateway building to the city and campus and will have specialist teaching space for the College of Business, Technology and Engineering.

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Aerial View Of Overall Campus Vision (Image Sheffield Hallam University)
Aerial View Of Overall Campus Vision (Image Sheffield Hallam University)

The university says the tallest part of the development is at the junction between Howard Street and Paternoster Row to “symbolise a new gateway” and reference the old clock tower of the Arthur Davy and Sons building.

Block A has space for the College of Social Sciences and Arts and steps down towards Arundel Street and Charles Street.

Block BC, for general teaching, steps down from the new University Green towards the Globe Pub.

The ground floor of the new development has been dubbed an “exchange marketplace” and will include pop-up shops interspersed with cafes and greenery to provide “a vibrant and engaging space for visitors, students and academics”.

University Green (Image Sheffield Hallam University).

There will be activity spaces for social learning, collaboration, self-directed study and problem solving to promote a ‘sticky campus’ – a place where students want to stick around.

“Highly visible feature staircases” will promote physical activity while University Green will have a range of spaces for eating, exercising and meeting friends.

Block A will include a 5.5m tree which will be a key feature of the atrium space in a green yard.

Block BC will have a fresh food market and casual dining while Block D will include a green foliage wall.

Artists' impression of the new campus.

In the application, the University says: “Block A has showcase opportunities on Charles Street and Arundel Street where applied learning functions such as SHU Law may be showcased.

“Block D location is highly prominent and so supports the Sheffield Business School aspirations for a business focused hub at the civic gateway to Sheffield, as well as a trading room in a prominent location.

“Shared functions including general teaching, seminar rooms and labs are located across blocks A, BC and D. This will drive footfall from a wide range of users along the new campus spine supporting the intention for a vibrant campus heart at the new University Green.

“SHU’s Howard Street food venue, including a cafe, fresh food market and casual dining facility intended for use by anyone, is placed in block BC to activate the campus green.

“Here the venue will benefit from a south-easterly aspect which will suit external seating. It can also occupy a highly prominent location at the intersection between the new campus spine and public route along Howard Street and be highly visible to the public and visitors on the way up Howard Street.”

A core part of the wellbeing strategy is green spaces at the heart of the scheme including University Green, roof gardens – dubbed “well-decks” – internal green yards and more than 100 spaces for cycles onsite.

The roof decks will “encourage social interaction” and a pergola will be a focal point, illuminated with festoon lights to “match with the playful nature of the space”.

Even the plants have been carefully considered. Low shrubs will allow clear sight lines for surveillance and safety.

All species have been selected to provide winter and spring interest to provide colour when the students are on campus while ornamental grasses will be used frequently to provide foliage year round.

Tree species will be those with winter flowers or autumn leaf colour. And the flower colours have been selected to reflect the university’s brand colours with a mix of rich pink and purple.

The lighting aims to create “a green sanctuary within a contemporary urban environment” as the university says it can impact on how students and staff feel.

The plans say: “Light will be used to form patterns, add to the colour palette and play with visual contrasts. The lighting will be designed for the diversity of users throughout the day and night, and will provide a safe, secure and accessible environment for social interaction.”

The university says there’s “a strong desire to make ground floors as walkable and highly accessible as possible”.

As part of this, a meandering Cultural Route will increase public access and awareness of the university’s cultural events programme.

The application says: “Interactive seat walls reference the geology of Yorkshire, while steel clad light boxes are proposed by artisan blacksmith artists. Visitors will be encouraged to connect and engage with the university through temporary artwork tied into visiting exhibitions.”

The university says the development – which it has been working on since 2017 – will add to the Cultural Industries Quarter. It admits the hubs do not align with historic lanes and have no connection with the core character of the area but says they are a landmark.

“The experience along Pond Street is poor with the backs of large blocks and the bus station to each side offering very little to animate the route.

“The gold route along Howard Street is a key gateway to the University and city centre from the Midland Train Station.”

Planners are considering the application, which can be viewed here