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Yorkshire Sculpture Park announces ambitious plans to create new additional visitor centre

28 Aug 2015

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) has announced plans for an ambitious £3.8million capital project to create a new visitor centre. The proposed centre, due for completion in late 2017, will build capacity at the award-winning visitor attraction in Wakefield, West Yorkshire which attracts over 400,000 people every year. A planning application was submitted to Wakefield Council earlier this month.

Designed by London-based architects Feilden Fowles, the new 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 continue 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. 

To date, YSP has an allocation of £1.7million towards the new building from Arts Council England; an on-going fundraising campaign will raise the remaining £2.1million required to deliver the project.

Peter Murray CBE, Executive and Founding Director of YSP says: “The new visitor centre is a reflection of YSP’s 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.”

Ends

About Feilden Fowles
Feilden Fowles is an award winning London based architectural practice, founded in 2009 by Fergus Feilden and Edmund Fowles.  

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 £1.75 m 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.  

The work of the practice has been recognised in a number of awards including a 2014 RIBA National Award and 2015 Civic Trust Award for The Lee Centre, Ralph Allen School. The practice received the inaugural Young Architect of the Year Award in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) UK Excellence in Design Awards in 2015. 

For press enquiries about Feilden Fowles contact:
Claire Curtice, Claire Curtice Publicists 
+44 (0)20 7613 1442
claire@clairecurtice.co.uk 

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New visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (artist impression)

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