BARBARA HEPWORTH BUILDING, THE NEW HOME FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF HUDDERSFIELD'S FACULTY OF ART, DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE, IS AN OPEN, FLEXIBLE LEARNING HUB THAT UNITES ALL DESIGN DISCIPLINES AND ENCOURAGES CREATIVITY AND INTERACTION. INTERIOR SPACES HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY INTEGRATED TO ENCOURAGE A WIDE VARIETY OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES, WITH COLOURS, MATERIALS AND FINISHES REFERENCING ONE OF THE 20TH CENTURY'S FINEST ARTISTS.
A STATEMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY'S AMBITION TO BECOME ONE OF THE PREMIER DESTINATIONS FOR DESIGN EDUCATION, THE BUILDING IS A KEY PART OF THE WIDER MASTERPLAN FOR THE CAMPUS DEVELOPMENT AND A LANDMARK IN HUDDERSFIELD TOWN CENTRE.
The design addresses challenging topography by ‘folding’ its way up the sloping site and forming a central atrium space that affords open views throughout, then terminating in an 18m cantilever over the adjacent canal. A dual entrance enables access from the street and canal, while surface improvements and a permeable edge to the building rejuvenate a formerly unloved stretch of waterway and incorporate it into the site. Through design and choice of materials, the architecture thoughtfully integrates with its historic surroundings.
The building benefits from natural ventilation, excellent levels of daylight and finishes which maintain good air quality. Combined with views of the surrounding hillsides of Huddersfield, this creates a vibrant and enriching environment.
Extensive light and sound equipment has been installed in the atrium, and all furniture in this space is loose for maximum flexibility. This space is available for use by both students and the wider industry to host exhibitions, presentations and fashion shows.The Phidias Lab provides students with the potential for developing and prototyping 3D models in an immersive HR environment. Users can showcase their work digitally in a controlled environment with opportunities for collaborative learning and state of the art motion capture.
At design inception, stakeholder research was undertaken to ensure the appropriate amount of space is available to all subjects whilst ensuring each user has a feeling of ownership. Design ideas were further tested in virtual environments, with students invited to navigate the full space and provide informed feedback. Bespoke furniture was carefully developed following a series of workshops with end users to create functional yet attractive units designed to withstand heavy usage.
The project aimed to make a significant contribution to the regional economy by procuring materials and services locally, including locally quarried York stone, which has a naturally low carbon footprint, whilst surplus timber was donated to Yorkshire Community Recycling.