Ivor Smith, the original architect for 1961 Park Hill, joins the post Stirling debate and celebrates the 2011 “re-invention” of Park Hill.
“The care you have taken to repair a derelict structure is impressive. The concrete frame looks well with the new balustrades, and the timber top rail is better to touch. Although the coloured panels at first seem a bit bright, I can understand that it is important to express something new, and it is good that they continue to indicate the different deck levels.
The new entrance is a splendid monumental space. Some shops will add life, and the glazed two-storey offices and studios give an effective base to the building. The journey up the glass lifts is a delight, and the shiny spiral stair set within the frame is very clever. At night especially, these will provide a great view from the city and a welcome to the entrance. The arrival at deck level is similarly spacious. The access still has the qualities of the deck, and the encroachment onto it not only gives useful space within the dwellings but also provides a significant threshold to each group of four. The plan of the different units is now very spacious with views right through and light coming from both sides. My reservations about vertigo are overcome by the depth of structure that keeps you back a little from the edge. As I mentioned I do have some concerns about overheating and adequate ventilation, but I hope I will be proved wrong. The change to the elevations when the window panels are open is a witty device! The choice of materials, the quality of detail and workmanship shows great care; this is apparent in the entrance doors, the stairs, the windows, and the design of the kitchens and bathrooms. It is refreshing at this time that the whole design is free from gimmicks, and there is a consistency and inevitability to each part.
I think this scheme gives real meaning to the word “regeneration”; it represents a new beginning, a new vitality. I sense in those who have been involved the same enthusiasm and excitement that Jack Lynn and I enjoyed half a century ago. It will be a great place to live!” —Ivor Smith