The Portland Collection
Welbeck Estate, Worksop

A new gallery building for the Harley Foundation in which to display a broad collection of historic items owned by the Cavendish family. The new building provides two gallery rooms with vaulted ceilings and a two-storey back of house area for plant and office use.

The building has been constructed within the old Tan Gallop, a walled structure built in the 19th Century as a place to exercise horses. There is a single-storey, glazed, entrance pavilion with a basement adjacent to the Tan Gallop building.

A key part of the building when viewed externally is the band of buff coloured skinny Danish bricks which clad the building above the top of the Tan Gallop. At 100mm thick and with a high aspect ratio, it would have been standard practice to form movement joints in the bricks at a maximum of 8-12m centres. As a team we felt this would detract from the appearance of this important element, so we commissioned testing on the Danish bricks to determine their moisture and thermal characteristics. These results combined with the careful specification and use of lime mortar and bed joint reinforcement meant we were able to achieve continuous lengths of 25m without movement joints.

The long cantilever canopy was carefully engineered to ‘float’ over the glass walls around the entrance pavilion. We developed an arrangement of interconnecting tapered cantilever steels beams to achieve the thin edge profile while only taking support from slender structural posts hidden within the door frames. We worked closely with the steelwork fabricators to achieve a seamless profile to the canopy’s structural perimeter edge channel and fin plates by implementing different welding techniques, mechanical fixings and adhesives to create the high quality architectural finish.

Structural steelwork is also expressed across the glass strip at the top of the barrel vault in the main gallery. Required to provide structural stability to the building via portal frame action, these members were designed as neatly tapering fabricated V beams. Additionally, they were incorporated as the glazing supports resulting in a simple, crisp solution. The same technique is used over the glass roof light leading down to the basement while the V beams are scaled down to compensate for the observer being closer to the members.

Completed 2015.

Project Information


The Harley Foundation


Hugh Broughton Architects


Hufton + Crow


Civic Trust Award, Commendation 2017
RIBA Award 2016
RIBA East Midlands Building of the Year Award 2016
RIBA East Midlands Conservation Award 2016