Ben Kelly

Béton House

The Grade II* listed Park Hill estate is a landmark on the Sheffield skyline. Set in an extensive landscaped setting, it is the largest listed structure in Europe.

Specialist student accommodation developer Alumno commissioned  the transformation of Park Hill by adding student housing to the site, a concept designed by local practice Whittam Cox Architects. The proposals were developed through extensive consultation with local stakeholders, Heritage England and students from Sheffield Hallam University (SHU).

Interior design firms Ben Kelly Design and Brinkworth with Graphic Thought Facility collaborated to create a 13,956 sq m student accommodation facility. With ready-made accommodation units upstairs, a vast (but derelict) volume on the ground floor got transformed into a 650 sq m communal area, including a gym, cinema, private dining room, and study room.

The starting point for the design was the primary 'Polychromie' colour palette used by Le Corbusier, which was also found in a mosaic on the walls of the former Parkway Tavern pub. The team used it to offer a historical context: burnt orange, bottle green, scarlet, and mustard. These colours also help divide the open-plan spaces into zones (reception, lounges, seating booths, and study areas), bringing in a bit of Ben Kelly's trademark palette while allowing the original concrete to sing.


This colour palette extends into the accommodation upstairs. Each room has a unique colour combination to provide a sense of individuality. Tatham Studio oversaw the design process of this element and designed specially commissioned, bespoke furniture and sourced some original Scandinavian pieces.


Renamed Béton House the project is the latest phase in the ongoing redevelopment of one of the UK's most iconic post-war developments. It was completed in September 2020 and won Alumno the Developer of the Year 2020 title at the Property Week Student Accommodation Awards in December 2020.

Photos: Lou Melchior

AwardsDeveloper of the Year 2020, won by Alumno at the Property Week Student Accommodation Awards, December 2020
Collaborators Brinkworth
Graphic Thought Facility