JTA was appointed by Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery Trust to provide architectural services, submit a planning application and listed building consent for the creation of a space for volunteers, within the existing Lodge Yard of Pitzhanger Manor.
Pitzhanger Manors most famous resident, the architect, Sir John Soane first worked on designs for the site as a young man before returning to purchase the Manor in 1800. He was responsible for the transformation of the site over the next decade including the design of gardens, ruins, a rebuilt manor, entrance arch and lodge. As part of a major restoration of the entire site, JTA were appointed to create new facilities for volunteers.
A listed status recognises the importance and significance of buildings and offers statutory protection against unsympathetic alteration or demolition. Approximately 1% of listed buildings are Grade I, with the inclusion of Pitzhanger Manor, gives national recognition to some of Britain’s most important and unique buildings.
The Manor and its surroundings therefore represent an important collection of Soanes works, not just as the assured architect he was by the 1800s, but also some of his formative designs in the form of the Dance Wing. The Manor also has an importance in Soanes personal life as it was purchased in 1800 as a home for his family. This rich heritage represented the context in which JTA approached the project.
JTA’s conceptual basis for the design sought to answer the question, "What would Soane do today?” A number of aspects of Soanes work have been explored with the key ideas of: buildings within buildings, lanterns and the play of light, ceiling architecture and innovative technology being used to drive the project and its narrative.
Philip Johnson described Soanes approach as that of “Ceiling Architecture.” Ceilings certainly were incredibly important to the spaces that Soane created and he made their presence known by the way they floated elegantly down towards the floor on structures that seem to hold them impossibly.
Soane employed lanterns throughout his projects to achieve the illumination required for the spaces he created. Their design was often to encourage the play of light across surfaces or in order to create specific effects. JTA saw the lantern as an opportunity not just to illuminate the space but also to create different spaces beneath, allowing shift and change throughout the day with the changing position of the sun.
Consideration of the rich historical context have led to JTA producing a carefully balanced design that struck between the needs of the Trust and those who volunteer at the Manor whilst preserving and sustaining the heritage assets for the future.