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Feilden Fowles joins Yorkshire Sculpture Park rollcall

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Up-and-coming practice Feilden Fowles has revealed plans for a new £3.8 million visitor centre at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) near Wakefield

The scheme, which is in addition to Feilden Clegg Bradley Studio’s (FCBS) 13-year-old gateway building, will house a 140m² restaurant, a 125m² gallery, a 80m² foyer and a 50m² shop.

A planning application for the rammed-earth project at the southern entrance to the 2014 Art Fund Museum of the Year are expected to be submitted to Wakefield Council later this month.

According to the practice, which set up in 2009, the new building will sit in a former quarry and will be ‘constructed of stabilised rammed earth, creating a sedimentary patina that relates to the sandstone below’.

The project is the latest in a series of developments at YSP which began with the opening of Longside Gallery in 2001 designed by Bauman Lyons and continued with the main visitor centre in 2002 and underground gallery in 2005 (both by FCBS) , the transformation of the estate Kennel Block into a learning centre and café in 2011 by DLA Design and most recently the refurbishment of the Chapel in 2014.

Peter Murray, executive and founding director of YSP said: ‘The new visitor centre is a reflection of YSP’s ambition to increase long term resilience and sustainability by building audiences, further developing our artistic programme, and increasing visitor income.

‘In our 40th anniversary year, the centre will provide an important addition to our physical infrastructure, bringing together all of the successful elements of previous developments.

The centre will boost our commercial income as reductions in public funding continue

He added: ‘It will provide a platform to sustain and increase visitor numbers over the next decade, offering exciting new artistic experiences for the public to enjoy, while boosting our commercial income, providing sustainability in the long term as reductions in public funding continue to take effect.’

If approved, the proposed centre is due for completion in 2017.

The architect’s view

‘The linear form and orientation protects the building from the nearby motorway and parking to the east, forming a sheltered, sunken south-west facing terrace and harnessing views across the park towards the Lower Lake and Bretton Hall.

‘The building incorporates a pioneering low-energy control system using un-fired clay bricks to provide a passive humidity buffer, maintaining favourable conditions within the gallery. This is combined with a highly insulated envelope, natural ventilation, airsource heat pump and a dense acid-moorland green roof, to achieve a robust and passive design approach.

‘The new gallery space is distinguished by an in-situ concrete saw-tooth roof veiled in translucent GRP panels, ensuring a soft north light for the display of artworks.

‘The gallery will give visitors access to some of the greatest art of the 20th and 21st centuries through a changing programme of temporary exhibitions. The centre will also increase understanding and access to the landscape, ecology and heritage of the historic 500-acre Bretton Estate that YSP occupies, as well as the sculpture presented throughout the Park.

‘The new restaurant will continue to offer visitors high quality service while a new shop will extend YSP’s highly successful retail operation, selling limited edition lines by artists and designers.’

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