Restoration of the iconic 22 storey Grade II* listed building Arts Tower has brought this remarkable building up-to-date while preserving its light, confident, and optimistic 1960s design ethos. Our bespoke solutions have enhanced operational flexibility, while maintaining the key elements and simplicity of the original design.

Design Approach

HLM worked closely with the University to maintain and enhance the original design aesthetic which is fundamental to the building’s listed status, while providing a modern and efficient educational facility which responded to new approaches to teaching and learning.

The complexity of the project lay in the large number of stakeholders, including ten different end users, the University Estates department, English Heritage, Local Planning Authority, and Conservation officer. Through extensive stakeholder engagement and a transparent design process, HLM developed a phased solution that enabled the internal remodelling of the 22-storey tower block, and unprecedented replacement of the Grade II* façade, while the building remained partially occupied. To do this, HLM developed an innovative façade system to retain the narrow curtainwall proportions, while incorporating energy efficient glazing and a new operating system for blinds, which allow ventilation whilst controlling solar gain.

Inside the building, HLM refurbished its unique paternoster lift systems, subtly integrated modern building systems, introduced fire sprinklers and remodelled toilet facilities to support increased building capacity.
Working closely with stakeholders throughout the design development created a spirit of trust and cooperation throughout the process that quickly resolved any problems that arose during the construction. This level of detailed consideration and cooperation has resulted in a better teaching and learning environment, reduced running costs, preserved our built heritage, and secured the viability of the building for years to come.

“This was a complex and demanding project…. we were impressed with HLM’s organisation and dedication as well as their results.”

Neil Cameron, Director of Estates, University of Sheffield

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