Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We use cookies to personalise your experience; learn more in our Privacy and Cookie Policy. You can opt out of some cookies by adjusting your browser settings; see the cookie policy for details. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies.


Orleans House Gallery refurbished by Donald Insall Associates and Kaner Olette Architects

  • Comment

Spectacular baroque Octagon Room refreshed and augmented by new and refurbished wings

The complete refurbishment of the Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham, originally built in 1710 by John James – in particular its spectacular Grade 1-listed Octagon Room – has been revealed by Donald Insall Associates, together with a new north wing and reburbished west wing by Kaner Olette Architects. 

The extensive work over a 17-month period has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Transforming Orleans House’ project.

Oht.cmp orleans gouse completionphotos (c) richard chivers088

Oht.cmp orleans gouse completionphotos (c) richard chivers088

Source: Richard Chivers

Kaner Olette Architects have completed a new north wing and refurbished the west wing which also includes a study gallery with a permanent exhibition designed by ZMMA. The design of the north wing aims to avoid ‘assertive aesthetic contrast’ with its 18th century neighbour by replicating the architecture of adjacent service buildings. The new wing features an accessible entrance, a new reception, shop and training facilities. 

Donald Insall Associates’ restoration of the Grade I-listed Octagon Room is the focal point within the gallery complex. It involved the restoration of lost elements such as the main chandelier and improved circulation through two original entrances. The Octagon Room hosts community, education and visitor activities. 

Ohg 002 site plan

Ohg 002 site plan

Source: Kaner Olette Architects

Site plan

Architect’s statement

From the outset the architectural approach was developed as a close collaboration between Kaner Olette Architects and Donald Insall Associates. Both practices have been working on a variety of projects for many years at the site but this was the first where we worked together. Placing the splendour of the James Gibbs’ Grade 1 listed Octagon back at the centre of the site both visually and physically was one of the key challenges of the project. Taking the bold opportunities to open up new vistas and creating a positive three dimensional relationship with the reception and main gallery spaces brings a whole new rich balance to the building. Juxtaposing the freshly exposed raw materials and contemporary elements against the finely restored baroque interior was a careful balancing act of what to leave and what to remove. We both love the dramatic spatial progression achieved, how daylight now floods into the interior but especially enjoy the way the full 300 years of history is now there to see.

Michael Kaner Director, Kaner Olette Architects
Ayaka Takaki Project Architect, Donald Insall Associates


Original available for rescan 3208 rev a octagon chandelier part elevation

Original available for rescan 3208 rev a octagon chandelier part elevation

Source: Donald Insall Associates

Octagon chandelier part elevation

Project Data

Start on Site August 2016
Completion December 2017
Gross internal floor area 500m2
Form of contract JCT Standard Form of Building Contract with Contractors Design
Form of procurement Single stage competitive tender
Construction cost £2.7 million
Lead architect Kaner Olette Architects
Conservation architect Donald Insall Associates
Client London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Project manager Glevum Consulting
Exhibition designer ZMMA
Landscape architect Allen Scott
Structural engineer The Morton Partnership
M&E consultant Martin Thomas Associates
Quantity surveyor PT Projects
Principal designer Kaner Olette Architects
Main contractor Quinn (London)
Conservation sub-contractor Hare & Humphreys and Jon Joy Specialist Plasterwork Ltd
CAD software used Vectorworks
Annual C02 emissions 29,500Kg/year



  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.