RIBA Award

The Portland Collection, Welbeck Estate, Worksop | Hugh Broughton Architects

This philanthropic project allows The Portland Collection to be seen by the general public for the first time, in a carefully curated and crafted new building that perfectly suits its world class collection: one of the finest accumulations of paintings, sculpture, books, tapestries and furniture in private hands in Britain. It was assembled by the Cavendish-Bentinck family, which has lived at Welbeck Abbey for over 400 years.

The brief called for a new gallery to exhibit fine and decorative arts, which would complement the existing work of the neighbouring Harley Gallery and the historic interiors in the state rooms of the main house. Utilising a disused horse training yard, the building creates a subtle design that sits perfectly in the grounds of the Grade I listed Welbeck Abbey, integrating new and historic elements with a careful selection of materials and crisp detailing to create a highly sophisticated design.

The judges commended the way the scheme is delicately nestled in a cluster of buildings around a central courtyard, using existing stone walls and a simple palette of materials to blend into its historic setting. Externally, elevations have been crisply detailed in handmade Danish brick, which contrasts with and complements original stone walls. Protruding barrel-vaulted zinc roofs provide a dynamic roofline, evoking silhouettes of the abbey and hinting at the drama within.

Internally, the entrance area uses simple planes and careful detailing to highlight these existing elements and to provide framed views into the courtyard and landscape beyond. The galleries skilfully use natural daylight and a hierarchy of spaces to show off the Portland Collection to its best advantage. Particular praise was given for the use of sustainable energy sources to provide the exacting environmental requirements of a fine art gallery.

Source: RIBA