26.10.15 The Hepworth Wakefield

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Photo by Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd

We were recently invited to submit a proposal for a new garden at The Hepworth Wakefield which has been shortlisted alongside three other landscape design practices.

Our proposal is for a new garden that is modern, romantic response to a diverse and sophisticated urban setting. The site brings together the drama of the riverside setting, the robust industrial heritage of Wakefield and the angular sculptural form of the Hepworth gallery.

The garden proposal does not aim directly to reflect either the work of Barbara Hepworth or David Chipperfield. Instead it proposes a distinct sculptural environment which adds another layer to this complex composition. Its design echoes the fractured, angular quality of the building but imbues this with an overriding naturalism which reflects Hepworth’s deeply felt connection with landscape.

The main area of the garden is an extensive meadow planting with a high proportion of the locally native Purple Moor Grass used as a matrix for the planting of other more colourful species. It would have a principal season of interest from May to December. The grasses would be left standing through the winter. From March through to the end of May, bulbs would be used extensively. The shady areas which would have more early spring interest and less summer flower.

The intent with the planting is to use species that give a delicate naturalism that in some ways is redolent of the flower meadows of the Dales and Moors, although many of the species would be exotic. It is important that the plants chosen do not seed or expand aggressively. This is key to the long term success of the planting. It must be stable and sustainable.

Trees such as Prunus incisa, Prunus yedoensis, Amelanchier canadensis, will give early flower whereas Cotinus coggygria, Acer ginnala and Rhus typhina will give autumn colour.

Our shortlisted proposal will be exhibited outside in the existing gallery garden at The Hepworth Wakefield until the 31st of October.

More details about the competition can be viewed here.