Site Gallery


Brutalist Speculations & Flights of Fancy
9 September, 11am – 6.30pm

Walks, Symposium and Book launch
Tickets £20/£10 (concessions)

Brutalist Speculations and Flights of Fancy is a publication plus a day of exploration of six of Sheffield’s  Brutalist buildings.  Starting with guided walks to some of the buildings, followed by a symposium, book launch and reception, the day will explore proposals and enquiries, speculations, and flights of fancy based around the position that these six Brutalist building hold in Sheffield today.

In his book ‘A Guide to The New Ruins of  Modernism’ architectural commentator and Guardian journalist Owen Hatherley says that Sheffield ‘just doesn’t seem to know how good it is’ and that its modernist architectural heritage is ‘what make Sheffield different from Leeds, or Manchester, or Birmingham’.

Twenty artists and writers from Sheffield and Berlin have been invited to contribute to the publication, to consider the position that these buildings hold now (part of a much loved landscape or irrelevant, robbed of their utopian ideals) and speculate on their possible futures (for this project budgets are without ceiling, building regulations hold no barriers). These extraordinary buildings are sometimes forgotten, often reviled, loved, misunderstood, and contested, but form a vital part of Sheffield’s architectural heritage.

The project, curated by artist and lecturer Julie Westerman, includes the following artists:

From Berlin: Christl Mudrak, Dominique Hurth, Olivia Reynolds with Jon Moscow, Ines Lechleitner, Irene Pätzug, Antonia Low, Oliver Zwink, Valentin Hertweck, Peter Klare, Stephan Husch, Yuen Fong Ling.

From Sheffield: Michelle Atherton, Chloe Brown, Matthew Harrison,Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Professor Sharon Kivland, T C McCormack, Penny McCarthy,  Becky Shaw, Gary Simmonds,
Hester Reeve, Andrew Sneddon,  Julie Westerman.

Writers & Speakers

Owen Hatherley
(Guardian journalist, Author of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain &  Uncommon a book on Pulp)

Steve Pile
Professor of Human Geography, the Open University and author of  Real Cities: modernity, space and the phantasmagorias of city life.

Professor Jane Rendell
Professor of Architecture and Art, and Vice Dean of Research at the Bartlett, UCL, an architectural designer, historian and writer. Books include Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002)


10.30 Registration

11am – 12.30  Guided walks to Park hill Flats and some of the city centre buildings

12.30 – 2.00 Book launch – Brutalist Speculations and Flights of Fancy (plus lunch break – lunch not provided but can be pre-booked at registration and catered by Site Canteen)

Three consecutive panels led by Professor Steve Pile, Professor Jane Rendell, and Owen Hatherley
2.00 Professor Steve Pile, with Sharon Kivland, Michelle Atherton, Hester Reeve
3.00 Professor Jane Rendell with Jaspar Joseph–Lester, Andrew Sneddon, Chloë Brown
4.00 Owen Hatherley with T.C McCormack, Penny McCarthy, Gary Simmonds
5.00 Plenary session
6.30pm Optional dinner to continue the days discussion.

Students / concessions

Full price

Optional dinner
£25 per head, to be reserved at time of booking


Places are limited so booking essential. Please purchase tickets via, or alternatively call into Site Gallery. For further information contact Site Gallery  on 0114 281 2077.


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