RE-ARCH Conference 2014

On Friday 28 February, we will host our annual RE-ARCH conference at the Sheffield School of Architecture. We invite guest speakers from across the university to share with us their research and experience in relation to renewable energy technologies, applications, and their social impacts at various scales, ranging from urban, landscape to building levels. This will be a great chance for us to learn more from these experts about the opportunities as well as challenges in the low carbon era.

Time: 10.00-16.00, Friday 28 February
Venue: Arts Tower 16.03
The RE-ARCH conference is free to attend and open to all but places are limited so please register here early to avoid disappointment.
We hope to see many of you there!

Material workshops website launched

In relation to our recent substantial faculty capital grant to expand and improve our material workshop facilities, we’ve launched a new site to keep everyone informed of the new developments and as a resource to help all staff and students get the most from our workshops. We’ll keep an updated showcase of the excellent models and assemblies created in the workshops as well as practical information about the day to day operation of our workshops.

The website can be accessed here.

Designing with children – launch of new web resource

Courtesy: URBED

Rosie Parnell, with researchers Maria Patsarika, Maša Šorn and Jo Birch, has just launched a unique online database – a databank of international spatial design projects carried out with children.  The website has been created as part of the ‘Children Transforming Spatial Design: Creative Encounters with Children’ project funded by the Leverhulme Foundation (2013-2016). The site will continue to grow and develop as more cases are added over the next two years of the project.

Whole School Event 2014

Whole School Event – Designs on Our City

Wednesday 12. February 2014

This year, for its whole school event, ’Designs on Our City’, Sheffield School of Architecture (SSoA) will move out of the Arts Tower to work in and transform Sheffield City Centre for a day. Architecture students will be using empty buildings in the city centre as their studios and demonstrating, ‘live’, how creative ideas can revitalise our city streets.

20 workshops led by SSoA staff and visiting professors, partnering with creative practitioners from the city, will run simultaneously through the day. Each workshop will have 15-20 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Our students will produce ambitious and thought-provoking ideas for Sheffield. Some teams will produce design proposals for future uses of empty spaces and streets in the city centre, others will produce work that transforms the shop windows ‘live’ through slogans, poetry, film etc.

The day will end with the work being projected in shop windows across the city centre as night falls. This will be an unexpected and engaging public exhibition that will transform the city streets.

This will be a chance to raise aspirations for Sheffield, to question current models of regeneration and to actively demonstrate how our city centre could be animated through cultural activity in many different ways and at many different scales.

Event timetable:

10am to 4pm: students work in empty buildings (much of this will be visible to the public through shop windows)

4.30pm to 6.30pm: the public exhibition of work is projected in the shop windows


The Wider Context:

• ‘Designs on Our City’ is a demonstration of SSoA’s commitment to socially-engaged architecture practice and education. Building on the ‘live’ learning in the school such as our highly regarded Live Project programme ( we will develop our connections with and impact on the City.

• For this event we will be working with Marcus Westbury, Creative Director of Renew Newcastle, Australia ( to develop ideas for the revitalisation of Sheffield city centre through creative use of empty spaces. This is part of a series of events run by the University’s Civic Engagement team in partnership with Sheffield City Council. The purpose of this visit is to encourage the Council, the University and local independent businesses and creative organisations to collaborate on a resilient model of home-grown regeneration of the city centre.

• We are also using the recently published Sheffield City Centre Masterplan as a trigger for ideas. The Council will be interested in the students’ ideas to enrich, critique and develop the masterplan (link to City Centre Masterplan 2013).

• SSoA’s Whole School Event is part of a series of events run by the University’s Civic Engagement team in partnership with Sheffield City Council.


Whole School Event coordinators are:

Carolyn Butterworth,, 0114 222 0308

Leo Care,, 0114 222 0304

Marcus Westbury at SSoA

SSoA is delighted to have Australian urbanist and broadcaster Marcus Westbury visiting the school this week. To kick things off, Marcus was interviewed by BBC Radio Sheffield on Tuesday morning, along with a number of SSoA students.

If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to it here (starts at 1hr 37.30).

In the evening on Tuesday 11. February, he will be giving a lecture at 6pm in the Octagon Centre entitled ‘Iterative Cities: Renewal and Revitalisation from the bottom up’.  Tickets for this lecture can be reserved here.

On Wednesday 12. February, Marcus will also be participating in our Whole School Event – ‘Designs on Our City’, which will consist a diverse range of workshops taking places in empty shops and other buildings in Sheffield city centre (see the previous news item for further details).


Marcus Westbury successfully led a pioneering project to bring derelict buildings back into use in Newcastle, Australia’s City of Steel. His scheme turned the area into one of Lonely Planet’s top ten tourist destinations in the country. His Renew Newcastle scheme, which has since been replicated in cities around the world, sees landlords offer boarded-up business units to a range of creative tenants free of charge – filling empty shops at the same time as showcasing their potential.

During his visit to Sheffield, he will meet University staff and Sheffield City Council chiefs to discuss how a similar idea, by working with partners including the University, could breathe new life into Sheffield’s shopping streets.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Head of Engagement, organised the visit as part of The Engaged University initiative. She said: “Marcus’ work in Newcastle, Australia, is an inspiration to all creative cities that believe through partnership – inspirational leadership and enabling people to come together – they can transform where they live. I’ve asked Marcus to come and share his experiences to demonstrate that in a global community, each locality can learn from each other. By working with our partners in the city, The Engaged University can help bring this together.

He will speak about his project during a public lecture at the University’s Octagon Centre at 6pm on Tuesday 11 February, take part in a city-centre walkabout with Sheffield’s creative community on Thursday 13 February and join a question and answer session with Council politicians and officers on Friday 14 February.

Further information about Marcus Westbury can be found here.