The closure of Sheffield’s John Lewis store in the city centre, which has been open since 1940 is a huge blow to the city. Not only are they losing a huge brand, but there is also a building on the high street that has been left derelict. Could the Bakers Pool building be given a new lease of life?
Tom Hunt, a researcher at the University of Sheffield and Adam Park, a local architect and researcher, outlined some fantastic ideas in an opinion piece in the Sheffield Telegraph. The two made some inciteful points about the “importance of city centres and what they provide: places where all of us – young and old – can come together to meet, socialise and experience new things; to just ride the escalators, browse and dream, and yes, to shop and spend money.”
As the building is in the council’s control, it has an opportunity to work for the city of Sheffield and be re-imagined into something inspiring. The two made a great point about Sheffield’s aim to become a net-zero city and re-imagine the building would be much greener than knocking it down and starting again.
Imagine sitting on the square that connects Division Street and Cambridge Street in an Al Fresco dining space for restaurants and cafes. People can sit watching the world go by with friends – the perfect tranformation of the space into something that reconnects the cities people with the centre.
Their idea of making this area Sheffield’s own ‘Covent Garden’ isn’t so mystifying. You have restaurants already close by in the area and beautiful views in the area – so it makes sense to re-imagine it as a square with amazing restuarants, bars and cafes.
City centre are losing their identity and this would be a great way to great a new European-esque city vibe with the mix of local retailers and big brands all under one roof. What do you think is next for the John Lewis building in Sheffield?