Sheffield Festival Centre Competition

Showroom and Workstation

Location: Sheffield
Year: 2007
WAG: Architects
Project description: Competition Entry

A predominantly timber extension, this proposal weaves new media technology into a patterned wood panel facade – creating a distinctive new aesthetic combining luxury and function, appropriate to this Festival Centre brief. The roof gardens, themselves both pleasurable and functional (recycling greywater), when seen from the station and square spouting above the wooden weaves, suggest a basket of flowers – a gift to all who arrive in the city.

Sheffield Frontday
Our primary spatial move was to separate the volume of the new auditorium from the existing building creating an intense space between the two buildings, which we call the Show-Station. At ground level this space provides a public route through the centre, off of which are located a cafe terrace the box office and mediatheque. We have cut into the existing Showroom structure, creating stepped back terraces, which host a small ‘forest’, and allow light into the space, bouncing off strategically placed reflective surfaces. Above two bridges connect the new terraces in the old structure to the new building. One of these bridges is the main public access to the cinema. The other connects the new Workstation studios set into the roof gardens of the two buildings. We imagine the Show-Station space to be alive with media, used and curated by the Showroom and Workstation practices to showcase their work.

The woven timber facade wraps around the building. Along the long facade this breaks down into adjustable sun screens, shading the S-SE facing workstation windows in the existing building, which must suffer from over heating. Incorporated into this are visual media screens, used for advertising (both for Workstation based companies, and external revenue generators) and communications.

We propose to re-landscape the grass square in front of the building. The landscaping creates mounds to sit on, and a large screen at the end, which reflects sun back into the square, and can be used for public festival projections from the cinema.

Sheffield Aerialday-1 Sheffield Entryday
1-200Plan 500 Sec Final 500Siteplan Final
Our sustainable strategy has 6 main components:

Dealing with the sun on this site presents some challenges, and has structured much of the design. The site, and the public square in front, are potentially in the shade cast by the building for a lot of the time. Our proposal pulls away from the existing building, and bounces sunlight back down into the foyer. Furthermore, the screen at the opposite end of the square similarly bounces sunlight back into the square.
The new facade plays with the sun in a number of ways. We have placed adjustable sun screens (and media screens) across the south facing windows, allowing them to be shaded in the summer.
Meanwhile, the pattern of the facade generally would be fine tuned to work plastically with the sun. Each protruding facet contains a small PV cell sufficient to charge a bettery to power an LED light. At night this field of LEDs illuminates up out of the woven facade, as if light through the planet by the sun.

A vertical helix wind farm installation on roof of existing building – harvesting updrafts created by building, and at higher level the wind passing along the valley. The helices are painted to produce animated op art effects.
Below the ground in the re-landscaped square a ground source heat pump system is installed, to supply the Showroom and Workstation

Cooling for the foyer and office spaces is augmented by air passing through concrete tubes under the Show-Station space
Rainwater is harvested from the roofs, whilst greywater is sequentially cleaned by plants on the roof, before being recycled within the building.

The gardens on the roof of the buildings will work together with lawns in the square to add a significant new base for wildlife in the heart of the city.

Sheffield Ecology Diagram