MUSEUM: The Museum of London, London

I have been along to this museum once before about 5-6 years ago, so I thought it was about time I returned after living in the Capital for so long now. It’s not a large museum as its currently stretched to capacity so there is no need to prepare yourself for too many hours of perusing. It’s a lesser known museum here in London as many of my peers had not heard of it nor could even locate it over at London Wall near The Barbican, and it is true that it’s in desperate need of expansion and curation. Museum-of-London-Barbican
The Museum launched a competition back in February of this year calling all Architects to submit entries for the design of its new home over in West Smithfield, and currently these submissions are on display for the public to view. Alternatively you can view these online if you follow the link at the bottom of this review. There is no need to pay to enter as this is yet another free day out here in the City, but it’s a fantastic trip to learn about the culturally rich, diverse history of this ever-changing city from as far back as anyone can remember through to this very day. I must say I was fascinated and very proud and wish I could have experienced first-hand, every stage of time this city has embraced. It’s worth an hour or two of your time if you are in the area especially if you have lived in the city for a while, its quite remarkable what you may not have known.


MUSEUM: The Natural History Museum, London

Just before I jetted off on holiday I took a trip back to The Natural History Museum for the first time in years with some family. It’s my favourite museum architecturally speaking which was completed in 1880 by Architect- Alfred Waterhouse. Waterhouse made extensive use of terracotta tiles both externally and internally with an intention to resist the sooty climate of Victorian London. These tiles as well as the brickwork used, feature many relief sculptures of flora and fauna. FullSizeRenderThe Museum is inclusive as part of the complex known as Albertopolis, featuring other marvelous structures such as The Royal Albert Hall and the Victoria & Albert Museum all based down around South Kensington. The Natural History Museum is free, however do beware because it can get rather busy at weekends so expect a queue depending on the time of day you arrive. I went at about 3pm on a Saturday and was waiting about 10 minutes. Inside, the collection that is housed is phenomenal but you do notice with some exhibits, that they are beginning to date and could do with some restoration and a breath of fresh air. My personal favourite was the Dinosaur/Prehistoric exhibit because it’s always just so fascinating to see what they have managed to collect and to see how far we have come as a species today. Something I was fascinated by when growing up. I actually had great fun wandering through the many spaces inside, but I most enjoyed the building itself if anything. I recommended that if you do fancy popping along, go when there is minimal or no queue because I wouldn’t say it’s really worth an hours wait or more.

MUSEUM: Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

I had never been to Soane’s museum before, however made it my mission
to go last year.
Before even setting foot in the building, I was already fascinated by how beautiful it was on the exterior. It truely stood out in the terraced Lincoln Inn Fields overlooking the park adjacent. I was aware that the loggias were glazed at a later stage, however I think that they have been tastefully finished. I must admit, the idea of demolishing three adjoining houses to create a house of your own, suited to your specific needs and to house your personal collection of art, which is what Soane has done, is intriguing.

sir-john-soanes-1It was a pleasure to browse his extensive, albeit messy collection within. It was however the design of the house itself that was most interesting for me; distinctively Georgian styled, emphasising his love of neoclassicism.
The dome area in the house was most stunning and reminded me of The British Museum in the sense it was somewhat of a masterpiece to be seen only from within. It flooded the room with natural light and it was certainly something you did not expect to see in a terraced house of Central London. The colonnade and museum corridor also were lit well and it has been quoted that these rooms also relate to the design of the Bank of England banking halls. The moveable doors and cupboards in the Picture Room were also most fascinating; an ingenious idea of creating more exhibition/storage space. This is still something cleverly achieved by many today, as integrating joinery can prove effective in design.

I would love to have been able to view the house back in Soane’s day, I would
imagine it to be a great resource for his employees and apprentices and a wonderful building to study in.
What I have gained from visiting the museum, is how tradition can be mixed or altered to create something truly fantastical and personal. Use of materials and interior design is just as important as the exterior appearance of the building. What I also have taken away are different views on lighting up an internal space. I would like to take these points and incorporate them into my own design work perhaps in the near future.