Hepworth Wakefield (1)

I have been pleased to go back to David Chipperfield’s Hepworth Wakefield which I have barely visited since it first opened in 2010.   The competition for the selection of an architect was held in 2003 under the auspices of John Foster, Wakefield’s energetic then Chief Executive.   Ed Jones and I put Kengo Kuma on the shortlist as a result of seeing images of his Bato Hiroshige Museum north of Tokyo, which had recently been completed, but he arrived for the presentation exhausted from an overnight flight from Tokyo and the train trip to Wakefield.   Zaha Hadid did a presentation flanked by assistants who all looked as if they had arrived from Mars.   David presented last and the scheme as shown in pencil sketches was pretty much as built:  a set of geometric building blocks (‘a conglomerate of diverse irregular forms’), playing with irregular geometries, built out of pigmented in situ concrete, and focussed on bringing the highest quality of daylight into the large-scale, irregularly shaped, internal galleries.   It has turned out to be one of the best and most serious, if taciturn, buildings in the country:-


2 thoughts on “Hepworth Wakefield (1)

  1. Joan says:

    And, of course, what makes the Hepworth is the wonderful people who work in it. I don’t think I have ever felt so welcomed into a gallery as I did there. Makes such a difference if you often feel that you’re not educated enough/posh enough to cross the portals of such places.

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