Hannan Currah

 P3 – “Community Roots”

Heeley Garden Centre & Eco-Housing

Based on my own personal beliefs about what constitutes a house and home having grown up in the Quaker village of Bournville in south Birmingham, virtually every step of development throughout the third project if the year was dictated by my Manifesto. This tied together three main design drivers. 

1 – To re-interpret traditional housing values in Britain (of ownership, having one’s own front garden and back garden, and having a place of calm in your own four walls amidst the storm of the outside world) for the 21st Century working family and young professionals

2 – To re-interpret and further develop the values of the self-build housing movement pioneered by Walter Segal, using MMC (modern methods of construction) to bring the simple timber frame housing construction up-to-date and applicable to the more stringent/intense building process of today.

3 – To build on the work of Heeley City Farm, an organisation whose site neighbours that of the proposed housing scheme, in encouraging the working class people of Heeley and also of wider Sheffield to “Grow Your Own”. Through using as few as the Earth’s resources as possible – both in the construction of the housing and also by growing as much as possible for yourself in your “back garden” as it were – not only money but also energy can be saved. 

At every step of the way, the design process and project itself were shaped by the need to balance the ideals listed above. For example:

– Initial basic decisions such as whether to go down the true self-build or co-housing routes were dictated by the social and economical conditions of Heeley (not deemed plausible as of yet)

– The preferred layout of a series of “meandering” 2-storey houses was put aside in favour of one more suited to the site and environmental concerns (ie the perceived threshold and harsh//soft edge conditions of the given site, and the continuous North slope as a negative solar consideration).

– More spacious stilted bungalows – using a continuous walkway to provide disabled access – were also complemented by 2-storey houses to provide more density on the site as dictated by modern housing demands, and also to free up more space in the “courtyard” area for allotment beds.


P2 – “Open Arms” – Darnall Community Library

Given the brief of bringing the traditional library up-to-date for the 21st century user, the project was developed through two distinct but complementary design stratagems. One in physical terms, to respond to the two starkly contrasting site faces East-West, and the second in cultural terms, to respond to the various fractured elements of the population of Darnall.

The emphasis was to create separate but subtly interlinking spaces for the various anticipated users of a new library in this rather faded suburb of Sheffield, with unique design features integrated into these areas, in order to further the feeling of interaction on a personal level attached to a greater whole. From this user-targeted design program, the end goal of a resident-run library/activity centre – such as Walkley Library across the city – and the creation of a truly interlinked and independent “community” could be achieved…


P1 – Cycling Centre