National Trust taps architects to restore 300-year-old UK estate after devastating fire

on December 6, 2017, following an international design competition that attracted 60 entries from some of the world’s leading designers, British architects Allies and Morrison have been chosen to bring three-century-old Clandon Park back to life after a devastating 2015 fire.

A ground floor room reveals extensive fire damage.

Allies and Morrison was unanimously selected from six finalists by a jury comprising figures from the fields of heritage, architecture and the arts, including Ptolemy Dean, Surveyor of the Fabric at Westminster Abbey, David Bickle, Director of Design, Exhibition and FuturePlan at the V&A Museum, architectural historian, Clive Aslet, and local resident, Dame Penelope Keith.

The jury praised the winning team’s bold yet balanced approach, to “respect the quality and character of the mansion house in its historic setting” .

The jury found the team’s submission to be a clear and thoughtful proposal, which balanced continuity and cohesion with an appropriate level of drama and excitement.

The proposed concept is at an early design stage and Allies and Morrison will now work closely with the National Trust to develop a final design (subject to gaining the necessary approvals) which will restore and rebuild the 18th-century Palladian house in Surrey.

Sandy Nairne CBE FSA, Trustee of the National Trust, former Director of the National Portrait Gallery and jury chair, says: “Finding the right architect to restore Clandon Park is a very significant milestone in Clandon Park’s history. The fact that many hold Clandon close to their hearts has been on our minds when thinking about its future. The jury’s unanimous selection of Allies and Morrison was a result of their sensitive response to the brief, which matches the National Trust’s commitment to doing what’s best for the mansion, its surviving interiors and the wider estate.

Paul Appleton, Partner at Allies and Morrison, said: “Our approach is about balance; meticulously reinstating historically significant spaces while in others exploiting the extraordinary character of massive brick walls. New floors and ceilings are slotted into this robust matrix to re-order and to redefine, but only just as much as is needed to create timeless spaces without erasing the marks of time. From a restored Marble Hall, through the series of grand rooms on the principal floor, to a soaring new space connecting the lower ground floor to a new roof-terrace, each element plays its own particular part.

It is hard to imagine an architectural project which bears more directly on the question of how we respond to our heritage. We feel enormously privileged to work with the National Trust to unfold the story Clandon Park has to tell and to begin, together, to weave plans for its future around the extraordinary evidence of its past,” he added.

Matthew Slocombe, Director of Britain’s oldest heritage body, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), commented: “The 2015 fire, terrible and destructive as it was, is now a part of Clandon Park’s unfolding story. SPAB believes that the National Trust’s vision for the future of the house is a bold and honest response, moving Clandon Park forward both architecturally and intellectually.”

Allies and Morrison has invited Purcell to join as conservation architect, with structural engineer Price & Myers and services engineer Max Fordham. A landscape architect will be appointed after further consultation with the National Trust.

The Grade I-listed Clandon Park, near Guildford, Surrey was designed by Giacomo Leoni (circa 1686-1746), and was one of Britain’s finest examples of Palladian architecture before the fire.

The next stage of the project includes a detailed feasibility study and consultations, after which a more developed design will be able to be shared.

All images © Allies and Morrison.

See National Trust’s Clandon Park website.

See Allies and Morrison website.

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