Sheffield Riverside Action Plan and Architecture Photography

14th February 2013
As part of my long running project to build up a collection of photographs of Sheffield City Centre at various times of the day I have spent a few mornings recently on the banks of the River Don in an area of Sheffield that I'm not too familiar with and doesn't seem to feature on many photographs of Sheffield. The area in question has been subject to a great urban redevelopment schemes - The Wicker Riverside Action Plan is in full flow and is due to be completed by 2017, the progress made by this scheme is clear to see with the new architecture blending in well with the original historical buildings. The Action Plan will see the whole area around the Wicker and River Don regenerated and will include links to Victoria Quays, the Riverside Exchange and will enhance the Five Weirs Walk.

The North Bank development is a great piece of architecture and can be clearly seen as you pass through the new Sheffield Inner Relief Road. The striking flats feature an interesting design, the architecture here is quite different to other apartments in Sheffield, the colour and shape of the building gives a very modern and progressive edge to this area, something which Sheffield often lacks.

One North Bank's regeneration over recent years has created a modern urban part of the city centre and an area which will only improve as the action plan progresses and the council decide what to do with the nearby 1960's Castle Markets once the tenants have all relocated to the new indoor markets in Sheffield on the Moor. The new grade A office buildings are beginning to fill up creating a bustling area to work and live.

The Riverside area of Sheffield has plenty of Hotels which bring a lot of people into this otherwise lesser visited area, the architecture of the new Holiday Inn express blends in nicely with other progressive architecture in this area, in the distance you can see the traditional Grade 2 listed Royal Victoria Holiday Inn which stands on the site of the disused Sheffield Victoria Train Station.

One of my favourite pieces of architecture in this area is the new Urban-i development of the I-quarter tower which is a glass curved tower with reaches to 17 stories and includes a collection of apartments with superb views of Sheffield. The way this building has been blended in with the listed building next door obviously took some planning; again the colour of the fa├žade and glass in this development in Sheffield shows how the Sheffield is a city on the move.

The oldest river crossing in Sheffield is Ladys Bridge with the original crossing over the Don built around 1150. Parts of the current bridge structure dates from 1485 but only small sections of this part of the bridge can be seen behind the more recent widening & strengthening work. The river crossing here was built at a similar time to the original Sheffield Castle, the remains of which are currently underneath the Castle Market building. They are hoping to uncover more of the remains when the Castle Markets are demolished, however there is a general feeling that these previous developments will have damaged any further remains unsalvageable. The plan for this area will also involve restoring the original flow line of the River Sheaf which currently flows into the Don through an underground culvert, the developers hope to be able to open up this historic joining of rivers when the remaining part of the area is redeveloped. Having done a small bit of research about the castle in Sheffield into the castle in Sheffield I was quite surprised by the size of the original structure and the history of the people who lived there, research carried out by Sheffield University has revealed that the castle was at the time one of the largest castles in England. If anyone wants to read more about the Castle in Sheffield and bringing it back into the public realm within the Sheffield City Centre Masterplan take a look at the pdf here >

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