Sheffield art gallery’s £1.7m expansion

Artist's impression of the new �1.7 million extension at the Site Gallery on Brown Street, Sheffield
Artist's impression of the new �1.7 million extension at the Site Gallery on Brown Street, Sheffield
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Plans for a £1.7 million expansion project at a Sheffield city centre art gallery have been revealed.

The Site Gallery, on Brown Street, is set to almost treble in size by extending its gallery, café and events space, and opening a new shop, workspaces to let and a participation area.

The detailed proposals - which have now been submitted to the city council as a full planning application - involve moving into the empty premises next door, previously occupied by Sheffield Independent Film.

A grant of £970,000 was secured last year from the Arts Council, and Sheffield Council has pledged £125,000 towards the expansion.

Another £700,000 will be raised by the gallery.

Laura Sillars, Site’s artistic director, said seeing the project gather momentum was ‘incredibly exciting’.

“We are very excited at the possibility of developing the gallery and creating a nationally unique ‘art street’ and expanding the cultural offer for the city,” said Laura.

“However, there is a long way to go.

“We have to raise the rest of the money before we get building.”

The expansion will accommodate bigger exhibitions, as well as allowing Site to grow its business activities.

In a design statement included within the plans, architects DRDH said the scheme chimed with the proposed new Knowledge Gateway project, linking Brown Street with Fitzalan Square, as well as plans for Hubs Square, a public space which will revive the area next to Sheffield Hallam University’s Students’ Union building.

Site has the opportunity of ‘a renewed presence within the city’, the architects said.

The new gallery - ‘a simple white cube space for curatorial flexibility’ - will have a floor-to-ceiling window, and the extension will be clad in handmade red brick along its 56 metres, fronting on to Brown Street.

“The approach is to create a series of spaces that flow into each other, with views from space to space and from the street to the interior.”

Site Gallery’s neighbours - studios for The Human League, Red Tape, The Foundry and Steelworks, as well as the Sheffield Archive - will remain.

“One of the main challenges of the project is to create a new building for Site Gallery while maintaining the other uses in the building,” said the architects. Under the plans, the gallery will have its own, dedicated entrance, while the building’s other users will have a new shared entrance through the existing café.

Planning officers will prepare a report before a decision is made by councillors.

Construction work is pencilled in to start early next year, with the expanded gallery opening in summer 2017.