Dear readers, a couple of days had the opportunity to visit David Chipperfield’s other new Gallery (after his Margate the other week) and have to declare it an unqualified success.
The feel is mature, assured and concise. The finishes are smooth, precise but not self indulgent. Wakefield should be justly proud of this major civic pride injection and all of the visitors should be full of happiness and take in the work of Hepworth in a world-class setting. Chipperfield managed what a lot of architects fail far too frequently, he sculpted space using light and volume. The building’s exterior reveals a light filled, subdued interior, but with wonderful almost three-dimensional light from the unusual clerestory skylights. He also was very responsive to the location and both the industrial and waterside context of the new building. Fanciful museums as a means of regeneration quite frequently leave me cold. But the Hepworth is a building that has a sense of grace, civility and above all makes the art within speak.
I truly wish he had won the competition to built Tate Modern back in the day. His honed Modernism is much more warm and inviting than Herzog & De Meuron’s more flashy materiality, he’s more in the mould or Arne Jacobsen than the frequently bland Norman Foster. If you are living in Yorkshire you have no excuse not to visit, everyone else has to visit to admire this wonderful edifice.