Park Hill: rebirth of unloved brutalist estate highlights 50 years of change | Society | The Guardian

December 31, 2012

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Park Hill: rebirth of unloved brutalist estate highlights 50 years of changeEight-year renovation aiming at broad social mix transforms despised flats in SheffieldShare 325inShare7Email Peter WalkerThe Guardian, Sunday 30 December 2012 18.03 GMTJump to comments 209The renovated section of Park Hill directly adjoins the stained brick and concrete facade of the unmodernised section. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the GuardianThe event itself, a week or so into the new year, will involve little fuss, simply a few households moving into refurbished flats. But the symbolism is momentous: a rebirth for one of Britains most infamous housing estates and a half-century of turbulent social history coming full circle.Park Hill is the estate in question, a spiral of lattice-fronted brutalist blocks which rise – some would say loom – over the centre of Sheffield from a slope just east of the citys railway station.A pioneering and initially popular post-war development famed for its “streets in the sky” network of wide, sloping walkways, Park Hill charted a common trajectory for such estates: optimism giving way to dilapidation, social decline and then notoriety. For most the end point was demolition. Park Hill was saved because its innovative design gained a Grade II listing in 1997.Renovation was handed to a private developer, Urban Splash. Now, after a tortuous eight-year project during which the need to make the crumbling site more liveable repeatedly clashed with the conservation concerns of English Heritage, the first few dozen occupants of the renovated blocks are about to move in.

via Park Hill: rebirth of unloved brutalist estate highlights 50 years of change | Society | The Guardian.

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