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Hepworth director admits Stirling Prize loss was ‘hard’ to take

Hepworth Wakefield director Simon Wallis has said it was ‘especially hard’ to lose out to a ‘building with an enormous budget’ in the race for the Stirling Prize

Stanton William’s Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge picked up the UK’s largest architectural prize over the weekend, defying bookies’ predictions for a Hepworth gallery win.

In a blog post, Wallis described the David Chipperfield-designed public art gallery as an ‘impressively imaginative, inventive [and] courageous’ project.

He added it had created a ‘very palpable’ sense of civic pride in the west Yorkshire town, which he claimed suffered from a ‘self-defeating inferiority complex.’

He argued Stanton William’s laboratory complex in comparison had an ‘enormous budget’ and was in an ‘extremely privileged city’.

Wallis added: ‘It isn’t a building that excites me at all from the photographs.’

He went on to question the judging panel: ‘It’d be good too if some of the judges of the Stirling Prize were from the north, or lived in the north of England.’

He said: ‘The Hepworth has a mission to help open up far wider national access to our national cultural resources, as well as work with private collections most of which are largely clustered in London and the south.

‘It’s ambitious architecture that successfully serves a public function exceptionally well [and] distributes fairer access to cultural capital in the UK.’


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