The news that planning permission for Feilden Fowles’ proposed visitor centre at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was granted has been public knowledge since February; and yet, the centre’s future was not entirely settled until today’s announcement that the elegant design project has now secured a £1.7 million funding from the Arts Council.
The Sculpture Park – located near Wakefield, West Yorkshire – is a popular destination for cultural tourists, attracting over 500,000 visitors every year, so the addition of a new centre – not least the one proposed by the award-winning young London based practice – is key to catering for the park’s growing needs.
Situated at the southern entrance to the park, the building will not only enhance visitor experience, but will also strengthen security in that part of the site. The program includes a 140 sq m restaurant, a generous 125 sq m gallery space, an 80 sq m public foyer and a 50 sq m shop.
Additionally, Feilden Fowles – recently awarded the accolade of BD Young Architect of the Year 2016 – have aimed for a design that is environmentally friendly, with minimum impact on its verdant surrounds.
Insulated and naturally ventilated, the centre will, for example, also feature 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,' say practice directors Fergus Feilden and Edmund Fowles.
Support from other organisations – the Foyle Foundation among them – has also been pledged, bringing the design one step closer to realisation. The current plan holds an estimated completion date of late 2017.