The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © Sarah J Duncan
Photo © Sarah J Duncan
Photo © Sarah J Duncan
Photo © Sarah J Duncan
Photo © Sarah J Duncan

100 Buildings 100 Years

2011: Hepworth Gallery

Architect: David Chipperfield
Location: Gallery Walk, Wakefield, Yorkshire

I liked the Hepworth Gallery from the outset, and was able to walk around inside it with Simon Wallis (its director) well before any art had arrived. And now I like it more every time I visit. It always had the feeling of a stage, or a raft, lifted up above its surroundings, almost as if it were moored there for a while but might move on in time. This sense of suspension has a slightly destabilising effect which I like. It throws you a bit off-kilter, and enlivens the circulation of the building. I very much like its circularity, the varied but even plays of light, the balance of bigger and smaller spaces, and the contrast between the lower entrance level – which seems quite functional – and the upper galleries, which are working well for the art, and in ways which are surprisingly flexible. Its location is nicely unexpected, and the barges and boats haphazardly gathered by the weir add to the other-worldly sense that the whole edifice might somehow float away.

by Penelope Curtis

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