david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield
david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield
may 19, 2011

david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield

the hepworth wakefield gallery, designed by david chipperfield architects is now complete. located next to the river calder in wakefield, the gallery looks to create a strong connection to the historical city center. accessed by a footbridge, the museum draws visitors away from the busy roadway and into an enclosed and experiential environment.


ten interconnected trapezoidal blocks compose the overall structure, scaled and orientated in response to the surrounding built environment. visible from all directions, the building is multi-faceted, with no obvious front or back elevation. distinct and unique in its mass, the facility features a singularly applied concrete facade, which unifies the structure as a sculptural form. a series of irregular windows penetrate the bold structure, varying in scale according to its position on the landscape and the importance of the view.

david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield
image © iwan baan (also main image)



defined by the external form of the building, the interior spaces are unconventional in their volume with slanted roofs and asymmetrical executions. with variations in size, orientation and ceiling pitch, each of the ten gallery’s has an atmosphere and capacity of its own. designed to draw the eyes onto the artwork in an unusual way, each space – regardless of its size – succeeds in being intimate, providing the most encompassing experience for the viewers. organized on the top floor of the museum, the gallery contains six spaces for the permanent collections, which range from large scale sculptures and plasters by barbara hepworth to the very sensitive works on paper in wakefield’s art collection. the remaining four galleries will house relevant temporary exhibitions.

david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield
gallery with permanent collection
image © iwan baan



a slot in the ceiling runs the full length of the building, drawing light inwards to each of the gallery spaces. derived from a series of calculations, the angled roofs – which vary from block to block – admit and diffuse light in the best possible way, to provide even illumination and complimentary hues to the masses. also see designboom’s earlier article on the project.

david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield
image © iwan baan

david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield
image © iwan baan

david chipperfield architects: the hepworth wakefield
image © iwan baan

  • if you took out the sculptures in the second last photo, there is literally nothing to look at.

    idle crane says:
  • @idle crane.

    exactly; isn’t that the whole point. you are there to look at the art. a lot of recent architecture would be better if it were not screaming ‘look at me’.

    nicey says:

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