The Henry Moore Foundation, in collaboration with leading architects DSDHA, is delighted to announce the approval of planning permission for an exciting project that will transform the Sheep Field Barn Gallery, at Henry Moore Studios & Gardens in Hertfordshire, into a dedicated learning and exhibition space for all visitors. This redevelopment project marks a significant milestone in the Foundation’s commitment to visitor engagement and education.
Henry Moore, the renowned sculptor, was a strong advocate for education and established the Foundation with the purpose of inspiring enthusiasm for the fine arts. Over the years, the Foundation’s education programme has flourished, welcoming more than 2,000 school children annually and offering a diverse range of drop-in workshops, educational talks, and tours for people of all ages. The Sheep Field Barn, situated at the heart of the estate, has been identified as the ideal building for adaptation and extension to facilitate enhanced visitor engagement and learning activities.
The vision for the project is to create a state-of-the-art facility that will support a comprehensive engagement programme catering to diverse audiences, including school and community groups, students, academics, life-long learners and visitors generally. The modernised gallery spaces will include a public exhibition of the life and work of Henry Moore at the Studios & Gardens that will be an integral part of the visitor experience.
The design also incorporates two state-of-the-art education spaces, offering cutting-edge facilities for immersive learning experiences. DSDHA’s proposal will create a simple, unified building which retains the structure and most of its envelope, extending and overcladding the existing steel frame barn. The extension will provide captivating views of the sheep fields beyond the barn, complementing the tranquil character of Henry Moore Studios & Gardens. Furthermore, the project aligns with the Foundation’s commitment to sustainability by contributing to its aspiration of becoming carbon net-zero.
Upgrading the thermal performance of the barn and constructing the new extension from a timber frame is central to the design team’s commitment to sustainability and builds on Moore’s frugal approach to the structures already on-site. The timber frame will be supported on lightweight screw piles, avoiding the need for concrete foundations and therefore helping to reduce embodied carbon. The internal timber structure will be predominantly exposed, celebrating the structure’s simplicity and limiting the need for unnecessary lining materials, while the external façade will be either responsibly sourced or repurposed timber, robustly insulated to reduce the building’s operational carbon.
“We are thrilled to have received planning permission for the architectural redevelopment of the Sheep Field Barn Gallery,” said Lesley Wake, Chief Operating Officer at the Henry Moore Foundation. “This project represents a significant step in our ongoing mission to deepen our engagement with sculpture and the arts, inspired by Henry Moore’s passion for education. The transformed learning and exhibition space will enable us to engage with a wider audience and provide state-of-the-art facilities to facilitate a diverse range of educational and participatory activities. We are grateful to DSDHA for their expertise and partnership throughout this process.”
Deborah Saunt, Founding Director at DSDHA. “Our approved designs for the redevelopment of the Sheep Field Barn at Henry Moore Studios & Gardens will see the retrofit and upgrade of the existing gallery extended with a new learning and interpretation centre. The design has been developed in close collaboration with the client and engagement team to be an inclusive and welcoming environment for all visitors – celebrating the building’s relationship, and offering a choreographed sequence of important views, to the sculptures of Henry Moore and the verdant landscape in which they sit.”
With planning permission secured, the Henry Moore Foundation and DSDHA are eager to commence work on this transformative project with building work set to commence in spring 2024.