RIBA Stirling Prize

Yorkshire Sculpture Park visitor centre on RIBA Stirling Prize 2019 shortlist

Article: David Styles | Image: © Mike Dinsdale

The Weston, a new visitor centre within the sprawling grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, is one of six nominees for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize.

The newest building on the 2004 Art Fund Museum of the Year site will now be pitted against Cork House, Goldsmith Street, London Bridge Station, The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience, and Nevill Holt Opera for the annual architecture award.

The Weston is the latest addition to Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s architectural portfolio, with the organisation having opened Longside Gallery in 2001, YSP Centre in 2002, Underground Gallery in 2005, learning centre and café in 2011, the Chapel in 2014, and Bothy Gallery in 2016.

The £3.6 million, 673 m² building plays host to a restaurant, gallery space, public foyer and shop, and officially opened to visitors in March.

In a field united by sustainability, The Weston’s insulation and natural ventilation – using an air-source heat pump and a pioneering low-energy environmental control system- are believed to have been a key element in the centre making the shortlist.

The Weston nestles into the landscape among the artworks on display at YSP © Peter Cook

Sharing his excitement at reaching the shortlist, Peter Murray CBE, Executive and Founding Director of YSP, said: “This stunning building is an important addition to the Park and reflects our ambition to further develop our artistic programme and to welcome visitors all year round. YSP contributes around £10 million each year to the local economy and today’s announcement is also a significant moment for Yorkshire.

“We are grateful to all those who have helped realise this building from our major supporters, such as The Garfield Weston Foundation and Arts Council England, to our visitors.”

Fergus Feilden, Director of Feilden Fowles, the architects behind The Weston, added that it had been “an honour to work on a new building within the historic landscape of YSP, among the esteemed company of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.”

Past cultural institutions to win the prize

2014 – Everyman Theatre, Liverpool

2013 – Astley Castle, Nuneaton

2010 – MAXXI/National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome

2007 – Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach

2001 – Magna Centre, Rotherham

1998 – American Air Museum, Duxford

Shortlisting hasn’t always led arts institutions to the ultimate prize. The past decade has seen Tate St Ives, an extension to Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery, and The Hepworth in Wakefield nominated without claiming the gong.

Discussing this year’s field, RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire, said the shortlist “epitomises the enviable global reputation of UK architecture,” before adding that all six buildings display “ground-breaking innovation, extraordinary creativity and the highest quality materials and detailing.”

The winner of the 2019 Stirling Prize will be announced on 8th October.

Earlier this year, Peter Murray sat down with Advisor to discuss what the new visitor centre meant for the future of the site. Read the full interview here.