Francesca Sim

p1 | into the wild 


“One of the most enjoyable things about foraging is the way in which it compels a greater awareness of one’s surroundings – the need to slow down, pause and look.” – Stuart Ovenden


The brief for this project was to design a temporary, non-domestic building for up to ten people in a rural setting, more specifically, a foraging centre. The requirements were; a kitchen space, storage for equipment and produce, a classroom/eating space, an accessible toilet and a space for drying boots and clothes, all usable by up to ten people at a time. The site was based in Hang Bank Wood in Gleadless Valley, situated to the south east of Sheffield city centre.

The main concept of my design is based around the idea that when foraging you have to look a little bit harder and go slightly off the beaten track to find what you are looking for. A pathway lined with tree trunk columns leads to the foraging centre and becomes a more dense screen which partly conceals it. The foraging centre is a geometric shape which contrasts with the organic elements of the design and surrounding nature. This allows a slight glimpse of an un-natural object in the otherwise very dense woodland surroundings. The screen of trees continues through the building, becoming a structural element and creating a connection between the interior and exterior.



p2 | perform


“The stage is not merely the meeting the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.” – Oscar Wilde


The brief for this project was to design a small community theatre with consideration to a chosen type of performance. The building was to include a performance space for around 120 people, a bar or cafe area, backstage and storage space. The site was located in Sharrow which is to the south west of the city centre. There is a variety of students, families and the older generation living in Sharrow, however the student population tends to gravitate towards the nearby Ecclesall Road and the centre of Sheffield rather than staying in the area. I wanted to choose a type of theatre that would appeal to all the demographics mentioned previously and bring them together. For this reason I chose to focus on adaptations of Shakespeare works as my main theatre type, as there are many different versions ranging from traditional through to contemporary.

The main concept of my design follows on from the type of production and one of my main precedents which was the Shakespearian Globe theatre. I was very interested in the closed off façade, which then opens up into a very light and open performance space which is overlooked by the surrounding balconies. I wanted to re-create this in the entrance foyer by having a large central roof light which defines a void connecting the three floors. The void would also be a space for displaying, for example, small exhibitions of local art, advertisements for productions or local events, or even small musical events.



p3 | housing
“Less is more.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe


The brief for the housing project was to design a scheme to accomodate a mixture of families and smaller domestic groups, with consideration to accessibility, adaptibility, relation to the street and shared space. On top of this we developed individual manifestos based on our own research which would in turn influence the type of housing and social groups the scheme is aimed towards. The site is based in Heeley, to the south of Sheffield city centre.  It appears to be an area with many empty and forgotten spaces, however there is evidence of groups trying to revive the area. More specifically, my individual manifesto responds to the housing crisis, and also the amount of disused buildings in the UK, which relates directly to Heeley itself.

My manifesto looked at the insufficient amount of affordable housing in the UK. The tiny house movement is a phenomenon happening all over the world and is a very realistic and effective way of creating affordable housing. Because the houses are so small, they are very efficient both in terms or space planning as well as energy consumption. The demographic that is attracted by this sort of lifestyle tends to be those who perhaps cannot afford the typical houses on offer, or maybe the younger generation buying their first home. They also tend to have a relatively outdoor life style, therefore don’t have the need for as much interior space, which often means challenging typical space requirements.

Another aspect of housing I am interested in is the amount of disused buildings in the UK and more specifically Heeley. Rather than ignoring or demolishing these unused spaces, they could be used to house those in need. There is an empty building next to my site for this project, which I proposed to use as a shelter for those in need as a part of my scheme.