Porter Gallery

Block Architecture, London, 2007


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Thousands of cables supporting roof's steel frame 

Leon Chew     Download Original

  • Thousands of cables supporting roof    
  • View of cables from balcony     
  • Visitor entrance through carbon-fibre clad doors    
  • Adjustable carbon-fibre doors    
  • Adjustable carbon-fibre doors    
  • Adjustable carbon-fibre doors    
  • Open ceiling letting light in from the V&A    
  • Gallery    
  • Plan    
  • Door configurations    
  • East section    
  • North section    
  • North elevation    
  • Mechanical diagram    
  • Wall and cable details    
  • Carbon-fibe doors    
  • Carbon-fibre detail    

Gallery designed to house temporary exhibitions at the V&A incorporating a suspended steel cable roof

The V&A Porter Gallery will house the contemporary programme of the V&A over the next ten years. The entrance to the space creates a transitional lobby where a shift from the V&A proper to the contemporary programme is allowed to occur. It has been designed to offer different forms of access to the gallery through five seven metre high rotating screens.

The screens can be reconfigured to the curatorial needs of each exhibition and are clad in reflective black carbon fibre sheeting

The existing central lantern light presented an opportunity for structural intervention. The roof of the envelope is supported by over three thousand one-millimetre cables carrying the centre-point in the span.

This allows the structural elements to be as slender and lightweight as possible. This creates a mist-like structure that hovers above the roof and is visible from within the gallery.


  • Begun: Jun 2007
  • Completed: Nov 2007
  • Floor area: 360m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £650,000
  • Procurement: GC/Works/2 (1998)
  • Address: Cromwell Road , London, SW7 2RL, United Kingdom

Professional Team