Hepworth Wakefield Playground

Hepworth Wakefield Playground

Hepworth Wakefield Playground

Yorkshire, UK


The project is our shortlisted competition entry for a play area for the Hepworth Wakefield gallery in West Yorkshire. The brief was to design a stimulating environment for children relating to both the landscape of the gallery’s riverside garden and works of art by Barbara Hepworth. The site borders the River Calder and is adjacent to the gallery building designed by David Chipperfield Architects. At present, the site lacks definition, and a sense of shelter comfortable for children.

Our proposal focused on a terrain that creates a secure landscape for children to inhabit and a series of structures conducive to imaginative play.  The design forms an interactive landscape that encourages open-ended exploration, more in keeping with the gallery’s mission to encourage inspiration and dialogue than a conventional children’s play area with prescriptive play equipment.  Sculptural “cabins” provide structures to move over, into and through – places to hide in and play.

Below, the timber landscape is amphitheatre-like in form. In good weather, the stepped seating provides a space for outdoor activities such as drawing or storytelling.

The cabins look onto the amphitheatre-like landscape for outdoor activities

Model photography by Tian Khee Siong