The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden

Ground Garden websize

The Hepworth Wakefield, in West Yorkshire is delighted to announce details of the winning design for The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden.

World-renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith has won the gallery’s competition to design a new public garden. Measuring approximately 6,000 square metres (two and a half football pitches), The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden will be one of the UK’s largest free public gardens.

Tom Stuart-Smith was among the four shortlisted international garden designers and visionary landscape architects vying for the opportunity. The shortlist included: Christopher Bradley Hole and Brita von Schoenaich (joint submission), Cleve West, and Peter Wirtz.

Tom Stuart-Smith said: “I am delighted to be selected for this ambitious new project for The Hepworth Wakefield. Public commissions like these are scarce in the UK. I truly believe in the community and health benefits that gardens can bring and I am particularly excited by the socially transformative opportunities of this project. I am looking forward to working with the gallery to create a beautiful public space in this riverside setting that will be treasured by local residents and visitors alike.”

David Liddiment, Chair of The Hepworth Wakefield Trust and Chair of the Garden Judging Panel, added: “We are absolutely thrilled to be working on this project with Tom Stuart-Smith, one of Britain’s top garden designers, to create a new public space for Wakefield which we believe will enhance the experience of visiting The Hepworth and crucially, attract tourism to the city, further boosting the local economy. We had a wonderful reaction to the display of the four shortlisted designs last October and took into account the views of the public as part of our decision-making process. This included continuing to display sculptures within the garden. I feel confident that Tom’s designs for the site will create a cohesive and inspiring landscape that will provide a free, year-round attraction for Wakefield.”

The gallery has launched a £2.2 million fundraising campaign to deliver this ambitious development and is delighted to announce a £250,000 gift from the Garfield Weston Foundation towards the capital costs.

Simon Wallis OBE, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “Our fundraising campaign for The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden is already underway and I’d like to warmly thank the Garfield Weston Foundation for their major gift. Their significant support has got the project off to a really positive start.” 

He added: “Gardens and the Yorkshire landscape were a hugely important part of Barbara Hepworth’s creative life and they influenced her sculpture and its settings. It’s fitting, therefore, that we create a natural environment that would have inspired her, and that will have a rewarding all year round dialogue with our superb building and art collection.”

A judging panel of ten, comprising David Liddiment (Chair); Simon Wallis, THW Director; Jane Marriott, THW Managing Director; Chris Blundell, RHS; Edwina Sassoon, The Friends of the Royal Academy of Arts; Anna Pavord, author and writer; Christopher Woodward, Director, The Garden Museum; Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council; Dr Evelyn Stern, David Chipperfield Architects; and Michael Ziff, The Hepworth Wakefield Trustee, shortlisted the four designs exhibited in a four-week public consultation in October 2015. 

The proposed garden design by Tom Stuart-Smith will be a modern, romantic response to the diverse and sophisticated urban setting surrounding The Hepworth Wakefield. The site brings together the drama of the riverside location, the robust industrial heritage of Wakefield and the angular sculptural form of the gallery.

Rather than directly reflecting the work of Barbara Hepworth or David Chipperfield, the design proposes a distinct environment that echoes the fractured, angular quality of the building, but embues this with an overriding naturalism which reflects Hepworth’s deep connection to the landscape.

Beech hedges will provide shelter to vulnerable areas of planting and provide year-round presence, while large trees, such as Beech and Pin Oak will be planted to create bookends to the garden with smaller trees scattered throughout to create height and enclosures. An extensive meadow will cover the main area of garden, with a high proportion of the locally native Purple Moor Grass mixed with other more colourful and exotic species.

Further details about The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden will be released early in 2017.