The urge to converge

Case Study

Hauser & Wirth, Somerset

Hauser & Wirth, Somerset
At Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Martin Creed's Work No 1086, Everything is going to be alright. Image: Martin Creed. Courtesy The Artist And Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Jamie Woodley.

Ursula Hauser and Iwan Wirth have added a new rural outpost to their contemporary art galleries in New York, London and Zurich. Rustic is clearly 'the new black': set in a listed 18th-century farmhouse, with 200 acres of land, Hauser & Wirth Somerset is already attracting superlatives - one critic has dubbed it 'the next Guggenheim'. 'We're bringing art, architecture, community, education and landscape together,' its director Alice Workman says. Contemporary landscape design is celebrated with elegant outdoor spaces created by Dutch guru Piet Oudolf (of New York's High Line park fame).

Two new wings have been created by Paris architecture practice Laplace, while Somerset- based firm Benjamin + Beachamp (B2) worked closely with the gallery to restore and revive the golden-toned Bath stone farm buildings and reinvent the site for its new incarnation. Visually, the new structures - at the rear of the site - aim to complement and enhance the existing buildings and the location, with simple geometries and materials chosen to echo original details.

Conservation, education and sustainability are the core principals of this pioneering new venue, permeating the way the buildings and landscape have been programmed as well as events including talks, seminars, workshops and screenings. A learning programme is planned for local schools, young people and families, supported by a bookshop and learning room.

Client: Hauser & Wirth
Architecture: Laplace Architects, Paris (new buildings)
Refurbishment and restoration: Benjamin + Beachamp
Landscape design: Piet Oudolf
Opened: July 2014

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