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    Design award for a concrete bunker?

    Doubtless, few of you would expect a concrete bunker to receive such an accolade, in recognition of great design work. But initial perceptions can be misleading! The Hepworth Wakefield, which overlooks the River Calder, has beaten four rivals in a public vote to be given the Best Architectural Achievement award at the British Design Awards. This award comes as a surprise to some, as many locals to the area say that it looks like a concrete bunker.

    But aside from detractors, the 35 million pound building has many fans too — the grey brutalist structure has attracted over a quarter of a million visitors since it opened in May 2011, making it the most visited gallery in Britain this year. The gallery includes exhibits by many famous artists including Henry Moore, LS Lowry and David Hockney, and also boasts a 100-seat auditorium and a beautiful restaurant.

    As a bit of background, the gallery is named after famous sculptor Barbara Hepworth, who grew up in Wakefield. It was designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the same company that built the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate. This goes to prove once again that concrete can be beautiful, and the function of a building can contribute to a building’s perceived beauty just as much as its form.

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