The Institute and public hall, a two-storey brick and stone building of 1908, has been refurbished to include an arts centre; the Institute now has its own entrance with a new porch giving disabled access. The exterior is unchanged - the porch, a delicate glass lead-roofed structure, gives the only external hint of the new interior.
Glass was chosen to minimise the impact on the original facade and, when lit at night, to give a clearly indicated entrance point. The porch has two pairs of double glass entrance doors to protect the reception area from draughts; the ceiling is lined with timber slats and the floor is Kirkstone slate, both materials used in the main hall. In front of the doors is a gently sloping, semi-circular ramp to give access for wheelchairs from all directions.
The porch support structure is set in front of the glass doors - it consists of an H-frame of 100 x 100mm shs posts and a horizontal crossrail between them, braced by 25mm-diameter stainless-steel lateral restraint rods to a curved stainless steel door head plate. The posts support two 152 x 76mm rsc channels which are fixed back to the original brickwork. Three curved 80 x 40mm rhss welded to the channels form the profile of the roof. The lead covering is laid on a double layer of curved 6mm ply and turned down at the fascia with welted seams. A gutter running along the inner side of the roof drains into an internal downpipe.
The 10mm toughened glass walls are secured at the top between a 40 x 25mm channel welded to the support channels; the fanlight is secured by 25 x 20mm angles welded to the curved rhs. At the bottom the glass rests in 50 x 30mm channels set in the concrete floor slab. The glass doors are secured by an electromagnetic lock concealed behind the door head plate.