chapter
3 Pages

Introduction

ByJonathan Hill

2Painted Pompeiian red in allusion to the construction, destruction and rediscovery of an ancient Roman town, the Little Study is encrusted with venerable marble fragments and cinerary urns, which the coloured glass skylight bathes in the golden light of Rome. Warm air rises through two brass floor grilles, fed by the experimental furnace found among fabricated ruins in the Monk’s Yard. The single desk fits snugly in the window to the Monument Court, observing a sublime shadow of sulphuric soot accumulating on the assemblage of new and old fragments. Living on site while the three adjacent houses were demolished, constructed and rebuilt, the architect designed, occupied and imagined a building as a ruin. Intensifying the already blurred relations between the unfinished and the ruined, John Soane envisaged the past, the present and the future in a single architecture.