John Thorp, Leeds Civic Architect

From a Sculpture Study Centre to the Henry Moore Institute (and back again): the evolution of a legacy
Institute talk
21st November 2012
Henry Moore Institute Boardroom, 6pm

Phasing plan: the Henry Moore Sculpture Gallery and Art Gallery.

Architect: John Thorp

While he was in the process of establishing the Henry Moore Foundation in the mid 1970s, Henry Moore donated generously to Leeds Art Gallery. This enabled the City Council to address the dilemmas posed to the Art Gallery by inherited urban design, architectural and technical problems.

The Council subsequently selected John Thorp's plans for an extension of the Art Gallery, to create a robust Sculpture Gallery.  From 1976 to the early 1980s Moore also engaged creatively, through the encouragement and financial support of his Foundation, in a sequence of four phases of extension, restoration, conversion and new-build works.

In this talk, Thorp will explain how the experience of making the Sculpture Gallery as a building resonated profoundly with the process of forming sculpture and will describe the complex and challenging process prior to the eventual laying of the foundation stone by Moore and the formal opening of the refurbished and extended galleries by Her Majesty the Queen in November 1982.

John Thorp began working as an architect for the City Council in 1970 and became Civic Architect when the role was created in 1996 and is responsible for the development of much of Leeds' recent civic landscape.

An audio recording of this event is available in the Henry Moore Institute Research Library.