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Friday25 July 2014

2012 in review: Back to the future

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Caruso St John’s sensitive revival of the Soane could signal hope for the future of heritage, says Hank Dittmar

When I heard that John Soane’s Museum was bringing all three of Soane’s houses back to life, I was both excited and full of trepidation. It is one of my favourite London places, and I feared the old trope of contracting new and old.

But Julian Harrap, who restored the building, and Caruso St John, as museum architect, have avoided the traps of dealing with this hugely important piece of architecture and culture.

Julian Harrap / Caruso St John

Source: Dennis Gilbert

The conservation work at the Soane museum sought to return everything to the condition Soane left it in on his death.

In its sensitive interiors and gorgeous cabinetry, Caruso St John has inhabited the building with the spirit of Soane, yet brought 21st century tech and imagination to the party. It gives me hope that we are evolving our ideas about heritage.

 

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Readers' comments (3)

  • If something isn't there, and you invent what you think was there, that is NOT restoration.

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  • It used to be exactly what restoration was, in Viollet-le-Duc's day. And a hell of a lot better it was too!

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  • Yes, Viollet-le-Duc faked everything he could get his hands on. Now it's 2012, but the Brits haven't kept up with the best thinking in architectural restoration.

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