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Rival teams mix and match to win £30m Clandon Park revamp

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Architects from rival shortlisted teams in the high-profile Clandon Park competition have combined to win the job of restoring the fire-damaged Palladian mansion in Surrey

In an unprecedented mix-and-match of contenders, Allies and Morrison has teamed up with conservation specialist Purcell to take forward the £30 million scheme following a contest organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

Allies and Morrison originally entered as part of a team with conservation specialist Feilden+Mawson and intepretation Nissen Richards Studio, neither of whom has been named as part of the winning bid.

Meanwhile Purcell was leading on a separate bid along with Sam Jacob Studio, Arup and Churchman Landscape Architects.

Earlier this year six all-star teams (see bottom) were shortlisted for the project to refurbish and reimagine the 18th-century Grade I-listed landmark, which was struck by a major blaze in April 2015. The fire destroyed its roof, floors and thousands of historic objects.  

According to the National Trust which owns the building and launched the competition, Allies and Morrison ‘was unanimously selected’ by a jury including Ptolemy Dean, surveyor of the fabric at Westminster Abbey; David Bickle, director of design, exhibition and FuturePlan at the Victoria and Albert Museum; architectural historian Clive Aslet; and actor and local resident Penelope Keith.

The jury praised the winning team’s bold yet balanced approach, saying it respected ‘the quality and character of the mansion house in its historic setting’[i]. 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’.

Allies and Morrison partner Paul Appleton said: ‘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.’

The project, which the National Trust describes as its ‘biggest conservation project in a generation’, will restore the building’s historically significant state rooms on the ground floor.

Key rooms such as the Marble Hall, Speakers’ Parlour and Saloon – where significant architectural features survived the blaze – are expected to be restored to their 18th-century glory.

The ‘less architecturally significant’ upper floors of the house will meanwhile be transformed into flexible spaces for exhibitions, events and performances.

Sandy Nairne, trustee of the National Trust, former director of the National Portrait Gallery and jury chair, said: ‘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 its 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.’

Appleton added: ‘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.’

Postscript - explanation from the National Trust about the changes to the Allies and Morrison team:

Changes in conservation architect: ’Following the international design competition, the National Trust asked Allies and Morrison to assist them in selecting the Conservation Architect who would best match the shared aspirations of the Trust and the team. Allies and Morrison invited Purcell to support them after careful consideration of a number of very experienced specialist conservation practices.

Changes in interpretation consultant: ’Reflecting on the significance and specialist nature of the visitor experience and interpretation, the National Trust is exploring the option of making this appointment separately, enabling a direct and closer working relationship with its own in-house advisors, volunteer groups and specialist teams.’

Shortlisted teams 

  • AL_A and Giles Quarme & Associates with Arup, James Lingwood and GROSS.MAX
  • Allies and Morrison and Feilden+Mawson with Price & Myers, Max Fordham, Nissen Richards Studio, Tom Stuart-Smith, David Bonnett Associates and The Fire Surgery
  • Donald Insall Associates and Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Price & Myers, Max Fordham, Barker Langham and Tom Stuart-Smith
  • Purcell and Sam Jacob Studio with Arup, QODA Consulting, Brendan Cormier and Churchman Landscape Architects
  • Selldorf Architects and Cowie Montgomery Architects with Studio Otero Pailos, Arup and Vogt Landscape Architects
  • Sergison Bates Architects and AOC Architecture with Philip Hughes Associates, Tavernor Consultancy, Price & Myers, Ritchie+Daffin, Tom Stuart-Smith and Graphic Thought Facility

Conservationists working on the clandon park restoration project in the marble hall

Conservationists working on the clandon park restoration project in the marble hall

Conservationists working on the Clandon Park restoration project in the Marble Hall


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