It is now ten years since Leonard Design were approached by Sheffield City Council to work with them to develop a deliverable, transformative masterplan which addressed the issues of the stalled Sevenstone Project.

Aerial view of a densely populated urban area with a variety of buildings, streets, and green spaces. The cityscape includes modern and traditional architecture designed by Leonard Design and is illuminated by sunlight. A circular plaza is visible near the bottom-right corner.

A few economic and geo – political storms plus a global pandemic later, it is a privilege to look back on what has been achieved. With Leonard Design playing a pivotal role throughout the masterplan evolution and the delivery of key building phases, it has been a great privilege to be part of that team. Working alongside Sheffield City’s in house urban design and landscape teams: Arup, Turner & Townsend and Queensberry to give the City of Sheffield a truly sustainable and community spirited heart that the residents of Sheffield can be proud of for years to come.

The Heart of the City Masterplan has evolved around the area which was the focal point of the city’s early origins. Given the historic significance, and with much of the site located within the City Centre conservation area; the retention of the historic street pattern, restoration and inclusion of several historic and listed buildings was a key driver for the masterplan.

Whilst these factors, combined with some triangular plots and varying topography presented some technical and viability challenges, it also contributed to the ability to deliver a flexible, adaptable masterplan in phases with its own unique, high quality architectural character: The new and old integrating seamlessly.

A cityscape featuring a mix of historic and modern architectural wonders under a clear blue sky. In the foreground are leafless trees and green bushes. To the left is a red-brick building with ornate architecture, designed by Leonard Design, while newer, more contemporary buildings stand in the backdrop.

Within the masterplan works, Leonard Design have delivered three very different and unique mixed-use plots comprising an exciting mix of conservation, retrofit, façade retention and new build that are highly valued within the streetscape of Sheffield.

Low-angle view of three modern high-rise buildings with Leonard Design's varied architectural styles converging towards a blue sky with some clouds. The buildings have glass and brick facades, emphasizing vertical lines and reflecting light.

Here at Leonard Design, we are also keen to share experiences and knowledge to further the development of our team, so the project has provided a useful opportunity for site visits over the past few years.

Looking back, it is amazing to see what has been achieved in the timescale, not purely in terms of quantity of built and public realm development, but also the quality of design and materiality in what is a relatively challenging, historically sensitive site.

A year ago, we took some of the team on a tour of the masterplan to show progress of some of the blocks which Leonard Design had led on, including:

Grosvenor House

The block it all started with in 2018! A new regional headquarters for HSBC, plus CMS UK, and also home to some leading fashion brands, including Weekday and Monki, plus the locally renowned Marmadukes and The Furnace eateries.

A woman walks past a modern, multi-story office building with large windows and a grid-like facade designed by Leonard Design. The building reflects sunlight and blue sky. There are other buildings in the background, and a sign labeled "DEBENHAMS" is visible on the left. The street is paved and calm.

Isaacs Building

Sensitively combining old and new to provide 65,000ft² of grade A office space and retail ground floor, the building has been carefully and sensitively detailed to seamlessly combine a contemporary building with the well-loved, historically significant façade of the ‘Pepperpot’ building.

Having joined the Isaacs Building launch event last year, it is fantastic to see that Henry Boot PLC have now completed their high quality fit out and relocation to the upper 3 levels, which benefit from some spectacular panoramic views of Sheffield.

A modern, multi-story building with a combination of brick and large yellow-windowed facades stands next to an older, smaller red-brick building with ornate details. Leonard Design’s architecture shines through as construction equipment nearby indicates ongoing development in the area.

Burgess House

Bringing contemporary, multi-generational living to the heart of the city centre, Burgess House is a new build residential development, which sits at the gateway to the Heart of Sheffield Masterplan. Above four new café and retail units, 52 new 1 – 3 bed apartments and studios are provided over seven storeys.

The building also includes several sustainable initiatives including enhanced thermal performance, integration of solar panels at roof level to generate power and reduce reliance on the grid and a blue roof to ease pressures on the local drainage network.

An upward view of two modern buildings designed by Leonard Design. The left one has a rounded glass façade with balconies on one side and is accented with brick. The right building features a grid pattern of windows with colorful blue, green, and yellow hues. The sky is cloudy.

Athol House

A boutique office building with a striking and contemporary identity, set within Sheffield City Centre Conservation Area.

Occupying a prominent corner plot, the building resolves complex the relationship between the historic landmark of Laycock House and the new Burgess House with contemporary projecting bay windows blend the historic architectural language and a radical roof design.

A modern, multi-story brick building with numerous balconies stands on a city corner. Large windows cover parts of the structure, offering glimpses of stylish interiors. Pedestrians and vehicles are on the adjacent streets. The sky is clear and blue with a few wispy clouds.

Laycock House

The retrofit of the existing building combines careful restoration of the historic details of the exterior with an upgrade to building fabric that will extend the life of these important buildings by creating residential spaces that suit twenty first century living standards.

A new courtyard, which forms part of the city-wide Grey to Green strategy, dramatically improves the entrance experience to the first storey townhouses and Burgess House.

A historic three-story red brick building, masterplanned by Leonard Design, boasts a black-painted ground floor, tall windows with decorative stonework, and multiple chimneys on the roof against a clear blue sky.

Leah’s Yard

Collaborating with our friends at Lathams and Arup on the repair and transformation of this Grade 2* listed building, alongside the façade retention and rebuild of the adjacent ‘Chubbys’ takeaway building. Working forensically and sensitively, these building have been turning around from a derelict, structurally risky collection of early 18th century workshops to provide a home for a series of boutique retail units, independent makers spaces, studios, offices and cafes.

View of a courtyard with red brick buildings featuring numerous windows. In the background, modern buildings rise behind the older structures, and a tall church spire is visible under a partly cloudy sky. The scene blends historic charm with contemporary architectural graphic design elements.

Fast forward a year and as the building works conclude, it has been great to see how the Heart of Sheffield has become a successful, integral part of Sheffield city Centre. It is now home to new communities, local and national employers and several vibrant retailers and eateries.

With the 52 apartments at Burgess House having sold quickly to owner occupiers It is great to see the high quality, grey to green public realm open and the first, high quality retailers opening in the ground floor.

A modern city street with large glass-fronted buildings, conceptualized by Leonard Design. Two people sit on an outdoor bench near a bicycle taxi labeled "NAVADQUES." A pedestrian walks past the buildings, and small trees and planters are strategically spaced along the sidewalk as part of the masterplanning.

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