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The Sheffield Boscage

Part 1 Project 2014
Oliver Taylor
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
For an extensive period of time the city of Sheffield has exhibited an enduring consideration for politics and the process of discursive debate. In contemporary social context, however, the majority of the Steel City’s residents have become disconnected from politics through a lack of awareness, means of engagement or outright disillusionment, issues that have become synonymous with society’s relationship to politics nationwide.

The Sheffield Boscage originated as an analysis of how debates occur in physical manifestations and whether an architectural form could encourage such process for the many political, social and activist groups in the city. The civic building’s physical interpretation has come from explorations in the ceremony of debate, both in historic cultures and how it may manifest in the future. Precedent for theatrical spaces that visitors navigate through the building has been taken from the Ancient Greek Stoa, where citizens were able to continue a discussion along a sheltered arcade, is reinterpreted in the scheme into a new path between two city hotspots that, whilst connecting pedestrians, exposes them to the political process that occurs within the debating hall. The hall itself is a representation of the city’s myriad socio-political organisations - transforming to accommodate and give exposure to each group that may wish to use it, through movable walls and partitions.

In forming a scheme to house the many discourses that exist within the city, the project also addresses the physical and social issues within the site’s context, a neglected public square in the heart of Sheffield, through new organic materiality that encourages residents and visitors alike to stop and interact with the space. This green boscage (meaning a luscious overgrowth of trees, plants and wildlife) combines with the civic debating space to reimagine Sheffield’s social, environmental and political context.

Oliver Taylor


Mr Andrew Wilson
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