We have been architects to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park since1988. The former Bretton Hall estate has been transformed into an internationally significant park which welcomes 700,000 non-paying visitors every year. We began with a gallery for sculpture and two-dimensional art to a very limited budget and timetable.
Subsequently, we designed an indoor gallery by converting a series of 18th-century outbuildings flanking a curved garden wall and more recently have completed the £4 million Visitor Centre. In total we have created a series of three exhibition spaces including the innovative Underground Gallery, completed in 2006. At 600sqm, this is one of the largest purpose-built gallery spaces in Britain.
Discreetly tucked away under the sloping lawns of the beautiful Bothy Garden, the Underground Gallery’s rooflight was refined through conversations with Anish Kapoor, who likened it to a stream running through the grass roof, reflecting the sky above.
Alterations to topography now provide an additional outdoor exhibition space, complete with yew hedge backdrop, outside the Underground Gallery.
The lack of a ‘permanent collection’ around which to design the spaces meant that the galleries inevitably needed to remain flexible and somewhat passive in their character in order to accommodate a wide variety of work.
However, the key strength of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is its wonderful landscape and the way in which this interacts with the pieces on display. It was therefore essential that the Underground Gallery maintain this contact with the landscape and create a distinct character of its own.
Our brief was primarily to provide large indoor gallery spaces to complement the existing outdoor facilities - dramatically increasing the possibilities for staging exhibitions, and making the Yorkshire Sculpture Park one of the UK’s most significant venues for temporary sculpture exhibitions.
At the same time, in the case of the Underground Gallery, the challenge was to introduce a very large volume of new construction into the much-loved 19th century Bothy Garden. It was essential we achieve this without destroying the important historic character and integrity of the space.
This was an essential part of the brief, allowing YSP to exhibit sensitive materials. All the galleries and the seminar room in the Visitor Centre enjoy high levels of daylight to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
The fabric of the buildings allows the galleries to operate under passive natural ventilation. Automatic louvres allow ventilation at night to disperse heat built up during the day, allowing the structure to cool.
2006 Civic Trust Award
2006 RIBA Award
2006 RIBA White Rose Award for Best Building in Yorkshire
2003 RIBA Award
2003 RIBA White Rose Award for Best Building in Yorkshire
Project Manager & Cost Consultant:
Burnley Wilson Fish
Ernest Griffiths & Son
Turner & Townsend
Land Use Consultants
Quarmby Construction Company Ltd
Peter Cook/View Pictures, Jonty Wilde, Andy Goldsworthy