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Arts Council funding secured for new additional visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

29 Apr 2016

Following the news of a successful planning application on 18 February 2016, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) has secured £1.7million funding from Arts Council England to realise an ambitious new £3.8million visitor centre. 

The proposed centre, due for completion in 2018, has also received generous support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and The Foyle Foundation. An on-going fundraising campaign will raise the remaining £1.7million required to deliver the project.

Designed by London-based architects Feilden Fowles, recently named BD Young Architect of the Year 2016, the centre will build capacity at the award-winning visitor attraction in Wakefield, West Yorkshire which attracts over 500,000 people every year.

Michelle Dickson, Director North, Arts Council England, says: “Yorkshire Sculpture Park continues to go from strength to strength, and makes an outstanding contribution to the visual arts in England. With visitor numbers growing year on year, the development of its new visitor centre will provide improved facilities for the public, and more exhibition space. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help support this project and look forward to seeing its development.”

Peter Murray CBE, Executive and Founding Director of YSP, says: “We are delighted to have the backing of Arts Council England. The new visitor centre is a reflection of our ambition to increase long-term resilience and sustainability by building audiences, further developing our artistic programme, and increasing visitor income. 

“In our 40th anniversary year, the centre will provide an important new element to our physical infrastructure, bringing together all of the successful elements of previous developments. It will provide a platform to sustain and increase visitor numbers over the next decade, offering exciting new artistic experiences for the public to enjoy, whilst boosting our commercial income, providing sustainability in the long term as reductions in public funding continue to take effect.”

The centre will enhance visitor experience and security at the southern entrance to the Park, less than one mile away from M1 junction 38, and contribute to YSP’s long-term financial sustainability. The environmentally friendly building has been designed to make minimum impact on the site and, in common with previous YSP developments, to fit sympathetically with the historic landscape. It will comprise a 140m2 restaurant, 125m2 gallery space, an 80m2 public foyer and a 50m2 shop. 

A world-class gallery space will give visitors access to some of the greatest art of the 20th and 21st centuries through a changing programme of temporary exhibitions. The centre will also increase physical, intellectual and emotional access to the landscape, ecology and heritage of the historic 500-acre Bretton Estate, as well as the sculpture presented elsewhere in the Park.

The new restaurant will continue to offer visitors high quality service while a new shop will extend YSP’s successful retail operation, providing opportunities for both artists and designers. The building will be well insulated and naturally ventilated, featuring an air-source heat pump for heating and a dense green roof. It will incorporate a pioneering low energy environmental control system using a passive humidity buffer to maintain favourable conditions in the gallery.

The project will complete a series of developments at YSP that began with the opening of Longside Gallery in 2001, the main visitor centre in 2002, the introduction of the Underground Gallery in 2005, the transformation of the estate Kennel Block into the Rushbond Learning Centre and café in 2011, and most recently the refurbishment of the Chapel in 2014.

Feilden Fowles is an award-winning London based architectural practice, founded in 2009 by Fergus Feilden and Edmund Fowles. Feilden Fowles were recently named BD Young Architect of the Year 2016.

The practice specialises in delivering socially and environmentally sustainable buildings across a variety of sectors and aims to make architecture that is rich in character and distinct in identity. Projects are inspired by local vernacular and apply innovations in sustainable technologies and construction techniques to existing and proven typologies. 

Built works to date range from the domestic scale through to arts and education buildings and masterplanning, and include: Ty Pren, a passive long house which is inspired by the rich local vernacular of the Brecon Beacons; The Lee Centre, a £1.75million applied learning centre and The Rose Building teaching block, both for Ralph Allen School in Bath; the London headquarters for watch brand Uniform Wares; and exhibition designs for the Jewish Museum New York City.

High Res Image Downloads


Bretton Country Park Proposed Development (detail). Courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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Bretton Country Park proposed development artist impression

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