Technical Study: Pitzhanger Manor, London

Painting of Pitzhanger Manor by Joseph Gandy, 1800

How Julian Harrap Architects and Jestico & Whiles recreated a bit of Soane bling at his grade I-listed country house

John Soane’s eminent dinner guests would have had no trouble finding their way to his new country house as they travelled west through the darkening landscape. Floating above its roof was a startlingly large timber and glass box which must have acted like a beacon.

It was the early 1800s and Soane was experimenting with all sorts of techniques that he would go on to use elsewhere. The rectangular roof lantern at Ealing could have been a prototype for the virtuoso example over the Picture Room at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, for instance.

Yet within 100 years it was gone, replaced by a flat roof. No one knows why but the chances are a subsequent owner found it leaked, or the 360-degree clerestory glazing made the house too hot or cold.

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