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Blackburn Meadows Biomass Plant


Location Client Completion Awards
Sheffield, UK E.ON 2015 6

Project details

Blackburn Meadows is a landmark biomass power plant on the site of the former Tinsley cooling towers.

The design responds to the historic precedents of the huge, black clad steel mills which can be found in the industrial landscape of the Lower Don Valley. An orange translucent clad boiler house forms the key part of the plant and is illuminated from within, with silhouettes of silos and other elements made visible at night creating a landmark beacon.

In addition to the power station, the project includes extensive landscaping, with a water meadow created on vacant land to the south to promote ecological biodiversity and flood water attenuation. A visitors’ centre provides an educational resource for school parties and other interested groups.

The feature backlighting to the boiler house cladding was achieved following detailed calculations using a number of night time site mock ups to calibrate the effect. The result is a striking night time ‘lantern’ with a minimal energy consumption of around 1500W.


This is a truly sustainable project, celebrating the past and present and providing a new 21st century icon for Sheffield.

RIBA Judges

Often Infrastructure projects are hidden away, but this unique facility not only offers cutting edge technology to power and heat the local community, it is illuminated from within, creating an attractive landmark beacon at night, which serves as a clear welcome to Sheffield.

Rob Hindle, Chair of the judging panel for the RICS Yorkshire & Humber Awards

The striking architecture of the buildings means that already the plant is becoming a local landmark. The feature lighting on the top of the boiler house looks fantastic on an evening and the orange polycarbonate glows during sunrise.

Luke Ellis plant manager at Blackburn Meadows Biomass


  • provide a visually striking landmark structure as a gateway to Sheffield
  • reflect the history of the industrial site


  • a shining example of its kind providing a clean and sustainable source of energy for 40,000 homes
  • 2017 RIBA National Award, 2016 RICS Yorkshire & Humber Awards (Infrastructure award and Project of the year), 2016 Sheffield Design Awards (Best Building)

Integrated services

architecture, landscape architecture, lighting design