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National Centre for Popular Music

Shortlisted schemes Building

Sheffield's National Centre for Popular Music clearly expresses its purpose and the city's heritage in a building which consists of a cluster of four giant stainless steel drums.

Creating this bold and apparently simple profile was a difficult task. Each of the drums is inclined outwards at 4degrees - bringing a mild frisson to the building's aesthetics and at the same time introducing enormous complexities into the geometry of the steel frames which form its skeleton.

Linking between the inclined drums forming the main galleries of the interactive museum is a glazed tubular steel roof enclosing the foyer, cafes and bars. Extensive use is made of fair faced concrete to reduce the need for secondary finishes. Wind driven fans on top of each drum act as air extractors for the galleries.


Music Heritage


£7.7M (shell only)

Principal designer

Branson Coates

Structural engineer

Buro Happold


HBG Construction

Other firms

Citex/Bucknall Austin (project manager)

Davis Langdon & Everest (QS)

Max Fordham & Partners (services engineer)

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