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Hugh Broughton submits plans for new Welbeck gallery

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Hugh Broughton Architects has landed planning permission for a new £5 million gallery on the historic 15,000-acre Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire

The practice beat big names including Caruso St John Architects and Tony Fretton Architects to win the invited competition last March (see below).

The new 800m² building for the Harley Foundation charitable trust will house Welbeck’s Portland collection of paintings and decorative arts which was assembled by the Cavendish-Bentinck family, who have lived on the estate for more than 400 years.

Work is expected to start on site in autumn this year.

Welbeck Gallery winner: Hugh Broughton Architects' victorious proposals

Hugh Broughton Architects’ original competition-winning proposals

The architects’ view

‘Visitors will enter the new galleries through a glazed entrance pavilion set within the existing grounds of the Harley Gallery. It will provide a bright and airy threshold to the new galleries with clear views onto a grove of trees. The architecture is simple and restrained, contained as much by its context as by its glazed elevations and floating roof planes. Within this space the original stone walls will be left exposed to view and will be complemented by crisper contemporary elevations to the service block, containing toilets, lockers and a small kitchen.

‘The new gallery is housed within the walls of the Tan Gallop, a structure previously used for training race horses. Externally, walls exposed to view will be crisply detailed in handmade brick, which will both contrast and complement the rougher stone of the old walls. Protruding barrel vaulted roofs provide a dynamic roofline, evoking silhouettes of the Abbey and hinting at the drama within. Internally the galleries have been designed as a place of delight and surprise, which evoke the spirit of Welbeck through their materiality, changing scales and texture. The architectural concept creates a structure for John Ronayne’s exhibition design and allows placement of the Portland Collections at centre stage, whilst also celebrating light, space and volume.’

Previous story (AJ 01.03.2012)

Hugh Broughton sees off stars to win Welbeck contest

Hugh Broughton Architects has won the contest to design a new £5 million gallery on the historic 15,000-acre Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire.

The practice beat runner up Caruso St John Architects, as well as finalists Dow Jones Architects, Gianni Botsford Architects, Haworth Tompkins Architects and Tony Fretton Architects in the invited competition organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

The new building for the Harley Foundation, a charitable trust set up to improve public access to the arts, will house Welbeck’s Portland collection of paintings and decorative arts.

The victorious scheme will ‘knit together’ a collection of buildings already on the site of the estate’s Victorian gasworks, next to the existing Harley Galley and 386 metre-long Tan Gallop equestrian exercise area, café and farm shop.

Malcolm Reading said: ‘The winning concept draws from the eclectic surroundings, bringing a sense of order and connectivity.’

The director of the Harley Foundation, Lisa Gee said: ‘The prospect of a new gallery for Harley is incredibly exciting and offers us a great opportunity to show this previously hidden art collection to visitors. The competition showed us six very different solutions to the brief that we set and we greatly look forward to the journey ahead.’

A planning application is due to be submitted later this year. The gallery is scheduled to open in early 2015.


The Harley Foundation is an independent charitable trust set up by the last Duchess of Portland in 1977 to improve public access to the visual arts and crafts. The Harley Gallery sits on the Welbeck Estate which extends to some 15000 acres and straddles the borders of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. It lies within the area of North Nottinghamshire known as the Dukeries.
Welbeck is still a working estate and contains a Grade II-registered historic park designed in 1748 by Francis Richardson; ancient woodlands and forestry; a beautiful chain of lakes; farmland and grazing; a deer park; and some of the country’s most important rural heritage buildings. At its heart lies the historic Welbeck Abbey and Welbeck Village.
Welbeck has constantly evolved over the centuries - from a Premonstratensian Abbey to a Cavalier residence in the 17th century; from English Gothic to the New Works of the nineteenth century with their mysterious labyrinth of tunnels.

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