Hauser & Wirth & Drawing Matter in Somerset


Hauser & Wirth Somerset


One day I receive an interesting newsletter from Architecture Foundation regarding a day trip to Somerset, visiting Hauser & Wirth and the nearby Drawing Matter. I had no idea that The 2014 Serpentine Pavilion designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić had been relocated to Hauser & Wirth Somerset in 2015. It is one of my favourite pavilions, so I was glad that it found a new home in a beautiful environment. Since both venues are difficult to reach without a car, it was a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

The weather was rather inconsistent throughout the day, and at one point, the sky turned grey and rained quite heavily. Luckily, the sky cleared before we reached the destination, and we even drove by the famous Stonehenge.



Driving past Stonehenge


Often Londoners live in the ‘London bubble’ and are slightly oblivious of the world outside of it. I am no exception. Luckily, I have lived in different parts of England before, so I do enjoy venturing out of the city and explore other parts of the U.K. And since I went to a boarding school in Somerset for two years when I was a teenager, I have some fond memories of this area. Interestingly, I also attended my good friend’s wedding in the nearby Bourton in June, so I felt nice to be back here.

I actually didn’t know about the existence of Hauser & Wirth Somerset until this trip, and apparently Bruton –where it is situationed– is now one of the most sought-after town in Somerset.




hauser & wirth somerset

haust & wirth somerset


hauser & wirth somerset  hauser & wirth somerset


Opened in 2014, Hauser & Wirth Somerset is a farmhouse-converted contemporary art gallery and multi-purpose arts centre. The land consists of a group of Grade II listed farm buildings including a farmhouse, cow sheds, stables, a piggery, a threshing barn, fields and woodland. As well as refurbishing the dilapidated farm buildings, two new wings were added to connect the buildings by Paris-based and Argentinian-trained Luis Laplace, and the result is very impressive.

Laplace has done a remarkable job in restoring the farm buildings and in creating a contrasting but harmonious balance with the new additions. I love the wooden roof beams, stone walls, barn doors and bright gallery space. Currently, there are two exhibitions showing at the gallery: Josephsohn/ Markli’s ‘A Conjunction’ and Rita Ackermann’s ‘Turning Air Blue’ (both until 1st January 2018).


Swiss Sculptor Hans Josephsohn's sculptures

Swiss Sculptor Hans Josephsohn's sculptures  haust & wirth somerset

Peter Markli's architectural drawings

rita ackermann

Top & 2nd left: Swiss Sculptor Hans Josephsohn’s sculptures; 2nd right & 3rd row: Swiss architect Peter Markli’s architectural drawings; Bottom row: Rita Ackermann’s ‘Turning Air Blue’ exhibition


Aside from the art galleries, there is a bookshop and another shop selling artisan crafts and designs that are made locally. Roth Bar & Grill is a restaurant/cafe/bar focusing on sustainable and seasonal produce from the on-site farm and kitchen Garden. And at the back of the lawn is the restored six-bedroom 18th century Durslade Farmhouse which is available for rental.


Durslade Farmhouse

haust & wirth somerset  haust & wirth somerset

Roth Bar & Grill

Roth Bar & Grill

haust & wirth somerset


For me, the highlight of the venue is the stunning garden designed by Piet Oudolf, the internationally-renowned landscape designer from the Netherlands. Oudolf is a leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement, and is responsible for New York’s famous High Line.

I am not a gardener or a garden expert, but I do love his naturalistic approach to gardening. The variety of species and combination and his method of planting differ from the classical European and English gardens, and it is a real joy to wander around the unostentatious and relaxing garden.

Situated at the back of the garden is the Radić pavilion, which I think looks splendid in Oudolf‘s garden. Inspired by the primitive nature of Romantic-style follies, the pavilion is an odd-looking structure made of fibreglass. The structure is unlike any architecture that I have seen before, and it breaks many ‘rules’, so I am sure it does not appeal to everyone. Personally, I find the bulbous shape comforting and enchanting; it is playful, archaic and futuristic at the time. It doesn’t seem to belong to any time period, which I think is quite groundbreaking.

Sadly, our time at Hauser & Wirth was limited and we had to take the coach and head towards our next destination: Drawing Matters.


hauser & wirth somerset

hauser & wirth somerset

hauser & wirth somerset

The Radić Pavilion

The Radić Pavilion

The Radić Pavilion

The Radić Pavilion

The Radić Pavilion

hauser & wirth somerset

hauser & wirth somerset

hauser & wirth somerset

The Radić Pavilion


Founded by Niall Hobhousea collector of architectural drawings, sketches and models – loosely based on the master plan by Cedric Price, Drawing Matter focuses on architectural drawings and models from the 16th to the 21st century, assembled over the last twenty-one years.

Located at Shatwell, the site comprises a small collection of buildings around a working farmyard in a valley. We visited the Archive on its open day, otherwise it is usually open by appointment to tutor-led groups of students, architects, and researchers only.

Unlike the more polished Hauser & Wirth, this farm site is an ongoing project and there isn’t much to see except for The Archive, the Hadspen Obelisk by Peter Smithson, and a shipping container that has been converted into a mini library full of books on architecture and landscape design.


drawing matters





Since most of the people in the group were architects, they were ecstatic to see hand-drawn architectural drawings by famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and models by contemporary architects. The drawings on display at the Archive on the day were just a small selection of work, which are part of their current curatorial and exhibition projects in the UK and abroad. And if you want to see the vast collection, you can check out their online collection via their website.


drawing matters   drawing matters

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959), Drawing for the 'Eaglefeather' estate for Arch Oboler in the Santa Monica Mountains, 1940.

Le Corbusier drawing matters

Androuet du Cerceau

drawing matters  drawing matters

Nobuo Sekine

drawing matters



Top: the Archive, 2nd row: Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959), Drawing for the ‘Eaglefeather’ estate for Arch Oboler in the Santa Monica Mountains, 1940. 3rd row: Androuet du Cerceau; 6th row: Nobuo Sekine‘s ‘Phase of Nothingness’; Bottom row: the office


After spending some time going through the drawings, we were treated with free coffee and cakes by the friendly owner of Chapel Cross coffee room. Then we wandered around the site, and came across Alison and Peter Smithson’s Obelisk. Originally conceived in 1984 for an urban site in Siena, then reworked in 1994 as a woven spiral called the Inlook Tower. Another chapter in the work’s history saw it erected on the estate of Hadspen House, Castle Cary in 2002.

Before we set off, I walked up to the top of the valley and ramble across the fields. The view of the Somerset countryside from the top of the valley was breathtaking. As the dark clouds started to approach us and rain started to fall, it was finally time to leave.


drawing matters  drawing matters

The Hadspen Obelisk BY Peter Smithson

dsc_0093        img_5720



The architecture-related trip was a rewarding one, and it reminded me how interesting life can be outside of London. I have visited many parts of the U.K. this year, and I will continue to do so in the future because there is just still so much to see and explore.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *