One of the most famous International styled buildings in the country, the Arts Tower, at Sheffield University is due a makeover to simultaneously modernise it and restore it to its original glory.
Led by HLM Architects, the project will see the building that originally came from the pens of Gollins, Melvin and Ward Partnership reclad with improved environmental performance on the building envelope despite the attempts by HLM to get the building skin looking the same as the original.
Amongst the external problems of the aluminium framed window bays is much weathering and damage including leaking windows that are hard to fix and stains from the rain on the concrete frieze that were even present when it was officially opened by the Queen Mother in the mid sixties.
Addressing the aesthetic appearance of the building is only phase one of the scheme. The second part will tackle issues including the fact the Arts Tower has a larger working population than can be evacuated in the time fire regulations require, new toilets, a complete refurbishment of the unique paternoster lifts and improvements to the mechanical and electrical services.
There is particularly poor heating control and new pipework will have to be installed throughout the building. Supply and extract routes for the ventilation will also be improved.
Combined with the improved fašade that will give the building much better environmental handling, the BREEM performance of the building should be increased with it expected to score about 78, enough to secure an "excellent" rating.
Phase 3 is still proposed is perhaps the most significant in terms of the building being visibly modified. Cut into the existing plaza next to the building will be a new breakout space linked to a lecture room whilst on the other side of the building there will be above the underground plant, an access plaza and new entrance to the lower ground floor. The main plaza will also have a new glass roof installed.
The main advantage of these changes would be the creation of a new one way system into the lecture theatres underground that will help alleviate the heavy pedestrian traffic that can currently clog the Arts Tower during peak times.
A lift has now been installed on one side of the building so that work by the main contractor, BAM Construction, can begin as 2009 does.
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