Project / Conservation

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Honouring the memory a true innovator

Sir John Soane's Museum is a house museum that was formerly the home of the renowned, neo-classical architect Sir John Soane. One of the most innovative architects of his time, Soane negotiated an Act of Parliament in 1833 to preserve his house and vast collections – some 40,000 sculptures, books, paintings, and curiosities of all sorts – exactly as they would be when he died.

The 'opening up the Soane' (OUTS) project is a £7 million project to restore, refurbish and improve the Sir John Soane's museum. As well as providing the museum with much needed new facilities, OUTS restored long lost features to public view for the first time in the museum’s history, preserving the charm of this much-loved institution for future generations.

Project Lead
Photo of Jeff Stott
Jeff Stott
Project Team
  • Location London
  • Client Soane Museum
  • Completion 2019
Ggardner 1536 HDR

Changing without closing

The project involved the conservation of Soane’s private apartments, the correction of modern interventions, the inclusion of a lift for DDA requirements, and alterations to the visitor experience – all while the museum remained open.

The restoration improves access and visitor circulation, as well as providing a new showroom, temporary exhibition space and conservation studio.

The challenge at No.12

Structural challenges included the removal of supports to the damaged stone cantilever staircase to No. 12. This required the renewal of some stone treads and the repair of others to ensure the structural paths were reliably reinstated.

The insertion of a lift within a cupboard space at the back of the stone cantilever staircase to No.12 required the underpinning of walls for the lift pit and the careful trimming out of floors. While the re-modelling of the north, external wall at second floor level required large areas of structure to be removed in a sequenced manner.

Gallery ceiling rose fully restored
PR OUTS 5

RICS Conservation Award winner

One of the trio of build­ings occu­pied by the Soane Muse­um and Soane’s first fam­i­ly house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, now metic­u­lous­ly restored using Soane’s 1793 plans and dec­o­ra­tive spec­i­fi­ca­tion, evi­dent in the strik­ing Pom­peian Red walls, Hare­wood grained join­ery and sky-effect ceil­ing in the Gallery. The full-height can­tilevered stair has been returned to its orig­i­nal form, with unsight­ly prop­ping removed. The atten­tion to detail, qual­i­ty of the work and authen­tic­i­ty of the restora­tion are imme­di­ate­ly evi­dent, but it is also a prac­ti­cal project, find­ing room for a Con­ser­va­tion Stu­dio and a shop – an inven­tive one, with imag­i­na­tive flour­ish­es such as the lift behind a trompe l’oeil book­case and an unob­tru­sive dis­abled lift in the front light­well that is a mod­el of its kind.”