By Ruby Southgate
The Peace Gardens – The Beating Heart of Sheffield’s City Centre
Sheffield’s City Centre is a busy and trendy place to be, but it has not always been so! It is filled with branded shops, alongside independent small businesses and beautiful restaurants that serve a variety of food which happily accommodates any fussy eater. It offers a selection of facilities that are easily accessible making the City Centre an inclusive environment. Starting with a regeneration masterplan scheme in the 1990’s called Heart of the City, much of today’s urban and city life success is a result of this masterplan and continues now through Phase II developments on site.
Key buildings like the Mercure Hotel, The Millennium Gallery and the Winter Gardens were part of an initial Phase I redevelopment plan. The successful Millennium Gallery in the Centre not only showcases local and national collections, but links the Gold Route from the Railway Station to the City Centre via a building vestibule to the Winter Gardens filled with beautiful plants, designed by Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects. The Peace Gardens which are located next door are described as the beating heart of the City Centre and are an appropriate finale to an urban route and centre piece of a regeneration masterplan.
I think without reservation, my favourite part in Sheffield’s City Centre is the Peace Gardens, it is a beautifully designed combination of hard and soft landscape, that always has a friendly and welcoming feel to it. The urban space is a huge triangular arrangement designed to accommodate all people; it has three raised areas of grass where people often set up mini picnics or sit and chat with friends and family for hours on end. The grassed areas are structured on direct radial lines facing the water fountains which take centre-stage when they are turned on, as they create a lively atmosphere adding to the already lively buzz of people in the space. The Peace Gardens adds lots of greenery to an urbanised area and provides a spacious place for people to use all day every day in the Heart of the City.
Photo by Juan Sisinni