The 10 best tower blocks in Britain

Park Hill

Location: Sheffield

Architect: Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith

Completed: 1961


Photo: Urban Splash

Though it's debateable whether Sheffield's Park Hill estate is technically a tower block (the sprawling estate varies between four and thirteen storeys in height), it is a remarkable example of modernist social housing that has been given new life after years of decline. Designed by Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith and built between 1957 and 1961, to replace a slum of back-to-back tenement housing it was initially a success, but, like many similar housing schemes, it fell into disrepair and crime-rates rose.

For many years, the council found it difficult to find tenants for the flats and the estate was even nicknamed San Quentin by some residents after the notorious American jail.

However, Park Hill was listed in 1998 and is currently undergoing redevelopment by Urban Splash, which is transforming sections of the council blocks into upmarket apartments, business units and social housing. Two blocks (including the North Block, the tallest part of the buildings) have been cleared, leaving only their concrete shell. The renovation was one of the six shortlisted projects for the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize.

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