Saturday, October 13, 2018


Entrance Court, Entrance Building, what needs doing, what don't I understand. The external Facade is Soane's work, quite different from the original treatment by Sampson. The internal elevation, facing into the courtyard is essentially Sampson, but Taylor must have glazed the side bays at ground floor level. His East Wing allowed the Transfer Offices to move out from the upper floors, which were then converted to residential apartments. Behind the new ground floor glazing there kitchens and parlours at one side, a porter's lodge at the other.

I added rustication to the ground floor of this inner Facade, giving equal weight to horizontals and verticals. These are loadable, wall-hosted families. Just a stick-on veneer. Maybe we will rethink that later, but for now it's a quick fix.

Externally, Soane chose to disguise the vertical joints. I've created new wall types with a series of horizontal reveals. The joints are diverted where they pass over the three entrance arches, creating a keystone effect. More loadable families. I had done the side arches long back but the central one needed to be reworked.

Finally there are groin vaults over the three tunnels. I'm using a parametric family that I made for the cellars.

How much does a Grecian Urn? More to the point, how many different Urn families do you need in your classical repertoire? Soane used a couple of variations of similar proportions. Sampson's are much shorter and fatter, with garlands linking the handles. An interesting modelling challenge.

So that's it for the entrance block just now, looking pretty good, maybe I should add some chimney pots. But it's more urgent to bring the rest of the model up to a similar level.  I will need to extend the cellars under the entrance but that's in the main model, and there is much to do down there: groin vaults galore.  There are few things to do in the Entrance Court.  Doorways are incomplete.  Railings and steps are needed for the peripheral light wells.  Behind the Pay Hall the old court room and director's parlours need to be fitted out internally.  There is at least one drawing to inform this work.

But we are definitely making progress.  Today I got around to restoring my Enscape3d installation.  Many thanks to Jonathan for renewing my license.  So I have compiled a little collage of images that show the entrance court in the context of an evolving model.

Monday, October 8, 2018


In the previous post I finished with a shot showing an older version of the Bank main model. I used this because its what I happened to have on my hard drive. The current model is in the cloud. But it was interesting, because it reminds me of how little I understood several areas at the time. The reduced annuities office was part of Taylor West Wing, an L shaped block enclosing the garden Court.

Late on in his career, Soane extended this upwards. I call the room Reduced Annuities Upper, but Im not sure what it was used for, or even how it was accessed. I guess you had to cross over the passage that separated it from the old barracks block. That seems to be where the nearest staircase is.
There are quite a few reference drawings, including some amazing work in progress sketches by Soane's students. Insight into building site operations. Image is copyright of the Soane Museum.

The way Soane picks out the three middle bays using a lunette window motif is quite impressive. It's a simple scheme that blends into the existing setting and enhances the composition.  At the same time he builds in his own distinctive style.  It doesn't look out of place, but he has not tried to mimic Taylor's style.  The simplification of classical elements down to their basic geometry is typical Soane.

As you come into the Garden Court from Sampson's Entrance Court you see a colonnade on three sides topped by a continuous stone balustrade.  The plane of the wall with Taylor's modified palladian windows is set back slightly behind this screen,  At the far end, facing you, Soane has extended the three bays upwards to form a cube and echoed the three arches, but in his own language.  Access to the rooms of Taylor's West Wing is via corner doors.  I take the oval shield & garlands motif above them to be Taylor's invention, represented at "low res" currently.

I need to create a new version of Taylor's palladian windows where the void cut only penetrates half-way through the wall.  This will replace the arched recess in the current model.  Why did he choose a "fake window" here, rather than a niche?  It could have had the columns and inner arch, but without the timber and glass.  Would this have been more "honest?"

Also on my to-do-list: develop the lower room. With it's paired Tuscan columns and arches supporting the walls above.