David Adjaye's Yorkshire market hall
faces demolition


News: the David Adjaye-designed Wakefield Market Hall in Yorkshire, England, is facing demolition just six years after opening, following news the local council wants to sell the building to a developer and replace it with a cinema.

The 4000-square-metre market hall was the first public project by high-profile London architect David Adjaye, but since opening in 2008 it has struggled to attract enough visitors and has been heavily subsidised by the council.

Property firm Sovereign Land, owner of the nearby Trinity Walk shopping centre, has now put in a bid to redevelop the site and create a new multi-screen cinema complex including restaurants and cafes.

A report recommending the proposals will be voted on by council members early next week. If approved, £100,000 will be set aside to relocate market traders to a new site in the city centre.

David Adjaye's Wakefield Market Hall faces demolition
Detail of roof at Wakefield Market Hall

"We have to accept that the market hall has not worked as well as we would have liked," said councillor Denise Jeffery, the cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth. "But we now have an exciting opportunity to inject something new into our city centre, which we believe will boost the night-time as well as the daytime economy, bringing more jobs and investment into the district."

She continued: "This also gives us the chance to deliver our market offer in a different way and we want to work with traders to help relocate their businesses to other premises should they so wish. The proposed relocation of the outdoor market to the precinct will enhance it, make sure it is sustainable and create a vibrant link between the Ridings and Trinity Walk."

Adjaye designed the hall to replace a run-down indoor market from the 1960s, but it struggled to attract the same footfall, losing out to rival markets in nearby Pontefract and Castleford.

Just a year after opening, a council committee was hired solve "design flaws" that included substandard paving and inadequate drainage in the food hall. Committee member Janice Haigh criticised the layout and said "a crane with one of those demolition balls" would be the best solution.

  • mitate

    I think this calls for cuddly old RR… Again.

  • Derek_V

    Tear it down!

  • Michael

    Sounds about right. And they’ll get Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design it.

  • JayCee

    Why not relocate? It’s made of metal; easily able to be dismantled and rebuilt. Otherwise this is a classic example of UK local authorities investing in white elephant projects that are doomed to economic failure. BooHoo for Adjaye, but I’m sure he will have managed to spend the fees on Boteng suits.

  • A.Guest

    All the press on this so far seems to attribute so called ‘design flaws’ to the architect. This is a sad misinterpretation of the role of an architect. I am sure David Adjaye was responding to a brief – agreed together with the client and relevant stakeholders.

    If the building has failed, there are many more people who could be held accountable. Sadly, the building has not worked but the reasons are no doubt complex and in part due to changing demographics and social patterns, which were not foreseen by the client when it set the original brief.

    • Jase

      It seems this is becoming Adjaye’s legacy. Weren’t the same issues of poor work the cause of the feud with Janet Street Porter?

      Not to mention him slagging off Norman Foster in the press back in 2006.

  • Douglas Montgomery

    The leaders of town councils are notoriously short-sighted, conservative and philistine. In fact, the people usually in charge of how a city or town is built, or how it should look, are the least knowledgeable and appreciative of architecture. I wouldn’t be so quick to blame David Adjaye.