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Sheffield Festival Centre


03 August 2007

Press release contact:

Julia Davies
T: +44 (0)113 203 1490
E: julia.davies@riba.org

Sheffield Festival Centre Competition

Carmody Groarke have won the design competition to extend the facilities provided by the Showroom Cinema and Workstation creative business centre. The new building will occupy a key gateway location to the city centre and will be highly visible from Sheffield's recently redeveloped railway station and adjacent Sheaf Square.

The competition followed an Open Design format and the first anonymous stage attracted an excellent response, with 60 entries from competitors based in the UK, Europe, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and the USA. A Jury Panel, consisting of representatives from the Showroom/Workstation, Creative Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and the RIBA, short-listed Carmody Groarke along with Prue Chiles Architects, HLM Architects, Houghton Budd Architects, Jason King Associates and Sadar Vuga Arhitekti + The Designers Republic.

The design proposals developed by the six short-listed teams were subject to anonymous public exhibition, which helped inform the Jury Panel's decision when they met to hear the architects present their schemes. Panel members were looking for much more than a bold new entrance building. The winning proposal needed to help identify the Showroom as a unique national cultural resource and provide better integration between the facilities provided by the Showroom and the Workstation - particularly during the highly successful film festival events hosted by the organisation. The design hence needed to provide 'a sense of Festival' and reflect the forward-looking approach of the client body. It also needed to embrace the latest developments in how film/new media is interpreted and be robust enough to accept future change. Jury Panel members commented as follows about Carmody Groarke's wining design proposal:

'From the outset Carmody Groarke had completely understood the needs of the new Festival Centre and they provided a first class interpretation of the Brief. The winning design was a favourite among members of the public at our exhibition. We are convinced that this building will make a significant contribution to the urban landscape of our city.'
Ian Wild (CEO of Showroom and Workstation)

Carmody Groarke's proposal brilliantly answered some of the client's strategic needs as well as suggesting a very sophisticated spatial solution. It emerged as a worthy winner from a strong shortlist.'
Jeremy Till (RIBA Architect Adviser and Jury Panel Chair)

On learning that they had won the competition, Carmody Groarke commented:
'We are delighted to be given the opportunity to work with the Showroom and Workstation to develop their new building for this prominent city site. The two-stage open competition process, that the Royal Institute for British Architects have lead, has provided an opportunity for a young studio such as ourselves to compete for a significant urban project. We now see this as the starting point to develop the Festival Centre with the client, the stakeholders and the city.'


Notes to editors


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