Project Description

A unique structure in the grounds of National Trust gardens containing subtropical plant species. The highly innovative design incorporates a series of 15m long sepals that open and close to regulate ventilation and temperature. The glasshouse is a steel framed pavilion structure, complete with double glazed cladding panels. Structurally there are two components to the glasshouse: the fixed base and the moving sepal; there are ten sepals in all. A strong aspect of the design intent was for the operable sepals to all move ‘simultaneously’. Movement is achieved by 10 hydraulic cylinders pushing the sepals open.

Judge’s comments

The unique challenges of kinetic structures were expertly handled in this openable greenhouse.

The key measure by which complex structure appear simple is amply demonstrated here and showcases to the public and the profession the beautiful results that can flow from the engineer’s art and expertise.

The structural engineers have combined advanced analysis, grappled with multiple unusual demands, considered the minutest of tolerances and produced a functional, exciting and most of all, fun, structure for the public realm.

Project overview

Structural Designer

  • Eckersley O'Callaghan

Client Name

  • The Woolbeding Charity


  • Midhurst, UK


  • Heatherwick Studio

Principal Contractor

  • RW Armstrong & Sons Ltd.

Key Contractors

  • Bellapart – Glasshouse Specialist Sub-contractor

    Stuart A Johnson Consulting – Project Manager

    Core Five – Cost Consultant and Contract Administrator

    Eckersley O'Callaghan – Facade Engineer

    MRG Studio - Landscape Architects

    Atelier Ten - Environmental Engineer

    Duke Readings Groundworks - Groundworks

    Neil Foundations - Piling

Year Submitted

  • 2022

Key attributes

  • Profession

    Photography credits: Heatherwick Studio, Hufton + Crow and Eckersley O'Callaghan