I was keen to go to the opening of the new Charleston Barns project, having been involved over many years (from 1993 till, I think, 2014) as a Trustee. The first proposal for expansion in 1993 was vetoed by the Trustees. Energies were concentrated instead on securing the conservation of the house. But as time went on, it became clear that the pressures of agribusiness might overwhelm the character of the house and that it was essential to secure the barns – to use them as a supplement and decoy to take pressure off the house. As was announced this week, people can now visit year round.
The competition was won by Jamie Fobert in conjunction with Julian Harrap, a conservation architect who is the best person at retaining the old in combination with the new, as he has done so successfully at the RA, both in The Sackler Wing and Burlington Gardens, and now likewise at Charleston.
These are the new galleries, designed by Jamie – heavily eaved, creating high quality, semi-domestic spaces:-
Next door is the old medieval barn, now restored, with a large performance space, plus restaurant:-
The integrity of the house and experience of it, meanwhile, remains intact:-
And of the garden:-