Press Release

Tate St Ives appoints Adam Khan Architects for refurbishment of the Palais de Danse

Barbara Hepworth on the dance floor, Palais de Danse, March 1961. Photograph by Studio St Ives. Barbara Hepworth © Bowness

Tate St Ives today announced that Adam Khan Architects have been selected to lead the refurbishment of the Palais de Danse. This historic building in the heart of St Ives served as Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture studio in the 1960s and will now be reimagined as a space to showcase and build on her artistic legacy. After an extensive search, Khan has been appointed to lead a project team comprising Thread, Price & Myers, and Ritchie+Daffin.

Anne Barlow, Director of Tate St Ives, said: “The Palais de Danse played a fascinating role in the story of modern art and continues to hold a special place in the community memory of St Ives. I look forward to working with Adam Khan Architects and the whole project team to realise the potential of this incredible building, uncovering its rich history and shaping its exciting future.”

Adam Khan Architects are acclaimed for their sensitive and socially minded projects, which are rooted in community and reflect a deep understanding of place. Their recent work includes several social housing and public regeneration schemes, as well as creating new facilities for Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Brockholes Nature Reserve in Lancashire, and Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens in Norfolk. Together with the wider project team, they bring a wealth of experience from a diverse portfolio of work on cultural buildings, community projects and heritage renovations.

Adam Khan said: “The Palais de Danse has a rich history and significance for St Ives and played a crucial role in the development of Barbara Hepworth’s work. We are thrilled to be leading the design team to build on that social and artistic legacy and bring the building back into public use.”

Built on the site of an old naval school, the Palais de Danse initially opened as St Ives’ first cinema in 1911. It became a dance hall in 1925 and went on to serve as an important space for community events during the Second World War and beyond. The building was later bought by Barbara Hepworth in 1961 to use as her second studio. This gave her the space to create larger and more complex sculptures, including her monumental Single Form for the United Nations HQ in New York, and to host events, performances and exhibitions. It has stood untouched since Hepworth’s death in 1975 and was recently given to Tate by the artist’s family.

The Palais’s Grade II listed building will now be reimagined as a new space for the local community to use and enjoy, driven by a rich programme of making and learning. Together with the neighbouring Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden (also in Tate’s care) visitors will be able to explore the full scope of Hepworth’s life and work in St Ives. As one of the largest indoor spaces in the town centre, the Palais will also provide exciting new opportunities for exhibitions, installations and public events.

Tate St Ives has been awarded development funding towards the transformation of the Palais de Danse from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, made possible by National Lottery players.

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “One of the things that stood out for us with Tate St Ives and Palais de Danse was the huge impact this project will have on the community and people of St Ives, as well as the wider impact for Cornwall. The project will help boost the local economy and create new spaces for interpretation with creative engagement, and focus on developing young people through new skills and apprenticeships.”

Further details about the project’s timeline and designs will be announced in due course.