University’s ‘green heart’ honoured at Sheffield Design Awards

  • Green, peaceful space at the heart of the University of Sheffield’s campus honoured by Sheffield Design Awards
  • Leavygreave Road Plantables Scheme includes new accessible street furniture, artwork, flowers and trees around some of the University’s major buildings
  • Project helping to create best possible environment for students and staff with better links with local communities and the wider city
  • Scheme part of collaboration with Sheffield City Council and local artists

The plantables scheme at the University

A green, peaceful space at the heart of the University of Sheffield’s campus has been recognised at an award ceremony that celebrates the best public architecture, landscape and art in the region.

The Leavygreave Road Plantables Scheme, which is in a large area of shared space for pedestrians and cyclists around some of the University’s major buildings, has been honoured with the Open Spaces Award at the Sheffield Design Awards held in the city this week (25 October 2018).

Designed by Sheffield-based artist David Appleyard, the plantables scheme features new street furniture alongside a mixture of artwork, plants and trees in order to help create the best possible environment for students and staff at the University, as well as visitors to campus and the people of Sheffield.

As part of a vast space with cleaner air, the project has introduced flexible and inclusive seating and working spaces designed specifically for able bodied people, wheelchair users and people with visual and physical impairments to sit side by side to eat, work or meet socially.

Developed in collaboration with Sheffield City Council’s Disability Officer, the project engaged local artists, experts from the University and incorporates the area’s history and heritage.

Some of the artwork on display is inspired by Sheffield’s industrial past, such as its expertise in precision manufacturing and Henderson’s Relish that was produced in a factory just yards away from the site. Other pieces of artwork on display are subtly inspired by the city’s rich musical history and geological features of the neighbouring Peak District.

The plantable scheme at the University

The Leavygreave Road scheme, which is part funded by the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund, is part of the University’s Public Realm Project that is working in partnership with Sheffield City Council to help the University make better links with local communities and the wider city.

David Appleyard, who designed the plantables scheme, said: “The project offered a fantastic opportunity to work in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and Grant Associates. It was a privilege to be selected to work on such an important development in Sheffield.

“The efforts of everyone involved has had a really positive impact on Leavygreave Road and I always smile when I see people using the space as we intended. The management of the planting by Estates and Facilities at the University of Sheffield should be commended because they continue to make the installation look vibrant and inviting. To win two awards is a lovely way for our combined efforts to be recognised.”

Presenting the award, the judges said: “Leavygreave Plantables is an innovative intervention in the streetscape at the heart of the University of Sheffield campus, creating high quality public realm for staff, students and the people of Sheffield. It is a key element of the University’s master plan that links the University of Sheffield to the heart of the city through the extension of its gold route. 

“This elegant scheme creates an oasis of calm in a busy campus that draws on the principles of sustainably and wellbeing. Great consideration has been given to the requirements of all users, with seating of different heights and configurations integrated along the full length of the scheme.”

The plantables scheme at the University

The Leavygreave Road Plantables Scheme also won the Keith Hayman Award for Public Art – a prize in memory of the environmentalist and artist from Heeley who died suddenly in 2013, aged 69, while cycling.

Keith Lilley, Director of Estates and Facilities Management and IT at the University of Sheffield, added: "We aim to deliver improvements to the public realm by encouraging people to walk and cycle through the campus and better connect the city centre to our campus areas, so for our scheme on Leavygreave Road to be recognised in the Sheffield Design Awards is wonderful.

"The Plantables design has brought the area to life by providing a beautiful urban area where students, staff and visitors can sit, or simply travel through and enjoy. The architects, artists and academics involved, as well as the team in Estates and Facilities Management who delivered a wonderful project, have done a magnificent job and I look forward to building on this scheme across campus."

The Leavygreave Road Plantables Scheme included academics from the University’s world class School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. These included; former Head of School Fionn Stevenson, Satwinder Samra and Professor of Planting Design and Vegetation Design Nigel Dunnett.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

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For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852