The building, in the city's Drury Lane, will house 12 studios, meeting rooms, offices and accommodation for artists, and will offer 'first-class access for disabled people'.
The project will sit alongside plans currently in the pipeline by David Chipperfield for the Hepworth Gallery and SMC Alsop for the Orangery.
Designed by Allen Todd's Sheffield office, the scheme's main facade will boast a large, ground-floor window, allowing passers-by to look into the community studio and reception gallery.
Meanwhile, the rear of the building, which faces onto the Emerald Ring road, will feature a cream and red brick pattern - a choice of colours and materials based on English Heritage guidance.
On the first floor, slim windows will punctuate a specially commissioned work of art by prizewinning ceramic artist Robert Dawson.
Allen Todd director Simon Gedye said: 'This is a significant modern building in the conservation area that responds to the context around it. It will have striking new faces to both Drury Lane and the approach to the proposed Westgate Development.
'The design is elegant and workmanlike and will provide a canvas for the artists' creative work.'
Supported by Wakefield Council and the Arts Council Lottery Fund, the building is expected to open its doors in spring 2007.