Yorkshire Artspace has secured planning permission to restore the façade of its Exchange Place Studios building and make improvements to the two public exhibition spaces.
The 6 storey building, facing Victoria Quays, was built in 1926 as a showroom and news depot for WH Smith, one of the first steel framed buildings in Sheffield with an attractive main façade clad in art deco faiençe tiles. The whole of the top floor was a café, the most fashionable place to seen in Sheffield in the 1920s.
In the 1960s, when the building was converted in to offices for SYPTE, unsympathetic steel-framed windows were installed and the interior completely gutted. Yorkshire Artspace will replace the windows to emulate the original glazing pattern and gently clean the faiençe tiles to remove decades of grime. Better public access to the exhibition spaces will be created along with out of hours access to the studios for wheelchair users.
Exchange Place Studios provides affordable workspace to 83 artists and makers, from painters and printers to jewellers and woodworkers, the pioneers of the creative resurgence of the historic Castlegate area of Sheffield. The purchase of a long lease on the building, and the refurbishment, has been made possible with funding from Arts Council England’s small capital fund and support from Sheffield City Council.