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In pictures: David Chipperfield's Hepworth Gallery


David Chipperfield Architects’ much-anticipated Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield is to open to the public on Saturday (21 May)

The £35 million competition-winning project, selected ahead of designs by architectural stars such as Zaha Hadid and Kengo Kuma in 2003, was originally due to complete in 2008.

Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: ‘This is a moment to savour for so many people who have worked together over the last decade to see the dream of the Hepworth Wakefield realised. We are proud to present the work of Barbara Hepworth, a daughter of this city, in this superbly designed gallery and to develop an international centre for the visual arts, which will attract artists and visitors from all over the world.’


Named after Barbara Hepworth, who was born in Wakefield in 1903 and lived there with her family until the age of 18, with 5,000 square metres of gallery space, The Hepworth Wakefield is the largest purpose-built art gallery to open in Britain since the Hayward on London’s Southbank in 1968, and provides a permanent public legacy for the artist in her home city.
he gallery site has been developed at a cost of £35 million as part of the £100 million regeneration of Waterfront Wakefield. It includes the restoration of former mill and warehouse buildings, the development of new residential, office and leisure facilities, and outdoor landscaping with a new pedestrian bridge. The gallery is funded by founding partners Wakefield Council and The Hepworth Estate; major funders Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund with additional funding from European Regional Development Fund, Homes and Communities Agency and Yorkshire Forward.

The highlight of The Hepworth Wakefield’s permanent collection is a group of more than forty works given by her family that provides a unique insight into Barbara Hepworth’s working methods and creativity. The Hepworth Family Gift, donated through a special scheme facilitated by the Art Fund, comprises a unique collection of prototypes and models in plaster, aluminium and wood, from which casts were made in bronze or aluminium at the foundry. The majority are original plasters on which Hepworth worked with her own hands. Shown alongside the plasters will be tools and materials from Hepworth’s studio. The installation, spread over two dedicated gallery spaces, includes the full-size prototype made by Hepworth of perhaps one of her best- known sculptures, Winged Figure, commissioned for the John Lewis Partnership building in Oxford Street London and installed in 1963.


Previous story (AJ 20.11.09)

AJ Exclusive: Latest pictures of David Chipperfield’s Hepworth Gallery

These are the latest shots of David Chipperfield Architects’ much-anticipated Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield

The £30 million competition-winning project, selected ahead of designs by architectural stars such as Zaha Hadid and Kengo Kuma in 2003, was due to be completed last year. However, after initially being turned down for lottery funding, the 5,050m2-scheme stalled and is not expected to open its doors until spring 2011.

Backed by Wakefield council, the museum overlooking the River Calder will house, among other artworks, sculptures by Barbara Hepworth who was born in Wakefield.

David Chipperfield Architects’ Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield - due to open in Spring 2011 (copyright Martin Priestley)

David Chipperfield Architects’ Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield - due to open in Spring 2011 (copyright Martin Priestley)


Readers' comments (18)

  • Perhaps I should visit this building to understand its worth but I expect I'd be disappointed. What is it with this preoccupation amongst some architects to take a vernacular form or building grouping more associated with timber or temporary structures and then cast it in concrete - Rachel Whitread did this 15 years ago.

    Is Chippy's preoccupation with 'form' too clever for its own good ? This reminds me of a song by Gang Starr called ' Form of Intellect' - me thinks it could have been written about Chippy:

    Tell me, do you have a clue of what to do
    Can you groove to this smooth tune, you must presume
    it's important, for you to follow this creation
    And hey Son, life is more than having fun
    So run and get some help with the problems that you face
    Take a taste of the bass put your perspective in place
    Get real, deep, so you can keep involved
    Revolve and solve, so you can make the calls
    like a supervisor he who is wiser than the others
    Cause they need someone to advise them to discover
    things that they don't know so the papers I will check
    Then they'll start to grow to this form of intellect

    (DJ Premier cuts "individual with intellect" --> unknown)

    When the road is too steep, do you have the stamina
    First album took us two weeks, since then we have been plannin
    an exclusive attraction, produce it to your satisfaction
    Those of you lackin, we will put you back in your slime
    so you can think and get a grip of
    yourself by yourself, and then you'll get a sip of
    a gift that's equipped with the script that shocks
    You can take a walk ?on God?
    With your mouth wide open, hoping you can find a
    way to display similar actions in a kind of mockery
    [ Gang Starr Lyrics are found on www.songlyrics.com ]
    Cause you don't realize the cost to be
    creative genius please, I'm too clean to play
    Glance per chance, watch GangStarr perfect
    And dance your pants like champs, to this form of intellect

    (DJ Premier cuts "Man with intellect" --> Lord Finesse

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  • Looks more than a £30 million building to me (especially with fit out). Nice photos though.

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  • feriHa  ozTURK

    i'm very stunned..
    is it really selected by star achitects..
    yes,maybe i should or have to visit this building to understand???

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  • Manfred thinks Peter should stop listening to rubbish music. Manfred believes this to be a triumph for Chippo and an even greater victory for Wakey. The building has a subtle quality bettered only perhaps by the quality of these pics. Manfed likes. Manfred likes a lot.

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  • So when's the cladding going on? I thought we'd realised that a concrete aesthetic wasn't really suited to the grey northern skies many moons ago.

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  • I think architecture these days is all about who did it, and how good photograhy is. I came across an awuful new library in Cardiff, but BDP's own article make it 10 times better with clever photos that you never notice in reality.
    By the way this is not a bad building, but many can do it if given the chance. Not jealous, it's true.

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  • Well Done!

    Having been involved with this project from the early stages, scheduling and specifying architectural ironmongery, even Chipperfields' own lever handle, it is now great to marvel at the building in all it's dimensions.

    For further information on the Chipperfield lever handle or any other ironmongery issues, drop me a line.


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  • This building is hideous - it looks like a nuclear bunker - I am appalled public money was spent on this travesty! Why are we still throwing up monsters like this whilst at the same time, quite rightly, tearing down ugly 60s shopping centres like the Tricorn or brutal multi-storey car parks which this resembles?

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  • As a set of images I quite like it, but its so unembellished the delivery really needs to be top quality or it'll just look cheap.

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  • The people who are slating this building for its raw concrete finish (and who apparently can't differentiate between this and a poorly designed, cheaply built 1960's shopping centre) are exactly the kind of people who shouldn't be designers - let alone architects...maybe they should visit the building and experience it before passing judgement.

    Architecture is more than just aesthetics...if you gave it a chance I'm sure you rather might end up liking it despite it's austere exterior.

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