Hepworth Wakefield: Boss hits out after gallery misses out on top award

Simon Wallis of the Hepworth Wakefield.
Simon Wallis of the Hepworth Wakefield.
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The director of the Hepworth Wakefield has spoken out in frustration after the gallery failed to win a top award.

The £35m attraction was nominated for this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize on Saturday.

But the award was given to the University of Cambridge’s £82m Sainsbury Laboratory.

In a post to his blog, Hepworth director Simon Wallis said: “I want to be a gracious loser, but it was especially hard to lose to a building with an enormous budget, dwarfing ours, in an extremely privileged city, and a project to which the public barely have access.

“It isn’t a building that excites me at all from the photographs I’ve seen, but, of course, I reserve full judgment until I do, if I ever get access to it.” The Hepworth, designed by architect David Chipperfield, opened in May 2011 and attracted 512,000 visitors in its first year, far exceeding the predicted figure of 150,000. RIBA named it as Regional Building of the Year for Yorkshire earlier this year, and it also won national Civic Trust Awards.

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