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The Heart of the Machine

Part 2 Project 2015
Matthew Pearson
University of Sheffield Sheffield UK
Castle Market, Sheffield’s principal market and most controversial Brutalist building, has closed, plunging the area of Castlegate into a downward spiral of neglect. An ‘in-residence’, activist approach, using participatory art practice, has generated a distinctly site-specific proposal for a vocational Arts and Engineering College that interlaces with the structure of the old market.

Part restoration, part new build, the new facilities connect the light-filled atriums and flying staircases of the original 1970’s market building to create a ‘theatre of learning’ that celebrates the collective memory and is inspired by the architectural confidence of previous generations.

Just as carcasses were hoisted from the abattoirs into the meat markets that once occupied the site, cars are now winched on a carrousel into the engineering workshop for disassembly. The interdisciplinary nature of this key space, blurring engineering, art and theatre, continues across the whole College, setting the agenda for creativity and innovation. This is a community building and public spaces reach deep into the heart of the College, offering access and interaction with the work of the apprentices. The south elevation presents a dynamic participatory artwork, curated by the arts apprentices and connecting citizens with Castlegate’s past, present and future.

Matthew Pearson


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