The Weston

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Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

Yorkshire & Humberside

Local Authority Area

Wakefield

Information about this scheme

Overlooking rolling pastures, The Weston, a new visitor centre and gallery emerges from its hillside setting in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set within a former quarry, the building includes a gallery, interpretation space, restaurant and shop. Given the site’s exposure to harsh weather and prevailing winds, it was decided early on that an appropriate building would sit low in the landscape. Inspired by works of land art and sculpture, a concept emerged of a monolithic material appearing as a cut in the land, which developed into a building of modest form; nestled into the hillside and yet emerging as a solid, man-made intervention. The single-storey building acts as both a threshold and a destination, with the landscaping accentuating this. The east elevation is a 50m-long wall of rammed concrete, centrally split by the main entrance. This sculptural, solid wall, subject to extensive material research and testing, works partly as a buffer to the nearby busy road, as well as a new threshold for visitors to pass through when they enter the park. The arc-shaped western elevation is glazed at the southern end where the restaurant is located and opens up stunning views across the park - a Douglas Fir frame gives warmth and registers the dappled effects of the sun passing. Research exploring concrete mixes of different pigments and aggregates combined with formwork retardant and jet-washing, produced a rammed concrete wall with a textured surface that subtly resembles layers in the millstone grit soil strata beneath. The gallery is distinguished from the rest of the space by a concrete sawtooth roof with a translucent GRP canopy gently filtering in light from above, protecting the artworks on show inside. The gallery is the first in the UK to employ passive humidity control with a buffer. The space hosts temporary exhibitions of work by modern artists to complement the collection in the park’s outdoor space. The Weston is a well-used, accessible public asset and the latest in a series of projects by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Over the past forty years, it has aimed to open up the former Bretton Estate to the public, turning it into an inspiring place to experience art in the landscape. Acting as a destination, the Weston has opened up new routes through the park where the land and the open air, given new breath and space to experience sculpture, its ideas and processes.

Credits

Architect

Feilden Fowles

Client

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Landscape Architect

JCLA

Main Contractor

William Birch and Sons

Structural Engineer

Engineers HRW

Services Engineer

Skelly & Couch

Project Manager

Turner & Townsend

Quantity Surveyor

BWA (Europe)

Primary Use Class

Class D1d - Display of Works of Art