Bronze Medal Winner
‘Formless’ – An Alternative Typology for Preservation
Tutors: Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes, Aldric Rodriguez Iborra
Allan Chong’s project explores an alternative typology for preservation through the extension of the Soane Museum, which he envisions as transforming in a state of continuous architectural development.
The idea was inspired by architect and artist Jorge Otero-Pailos’ response to Rem Koolhaas’ comments on preservation. It particularly draws on Otero-Pailos’ identification of the concept of ‘formless’, where architecture continues to change and reframe its most important spaces in response to the changing city, rather than remaining in a static state of preservation.
Soane’s own continual modifications and extensions of his home, including amendments to incorporate a museum, was another point of inspiration. Chong extracts and modifies non-key spaces to form new extensions while reworking the voids they leave to reframe key spaces. He calls this methodology ‘Extraction’ & ‘Projection’. ‘It keeps changing. It is not a solid architecture for preservation,’ he says.
One of the starting points for Chong’s programme of transformative preservation was a design by Soane’s assistant Joseph Gandy which envisaged an open loggia entrance to the house within the Lincoln’s Inn Fields terrace. Chong’s own series of extractions expanded the museum across the terrace, including the courtyard space, which is utilised in the extension to enhance views of Soane’s collections.
In one of the reworkings of a space left void by extraction, Chong has designed a Cenotaph for Soane dedicated not just to Sir John Soane but to all architects as spatial creators. Inserted into the lowest level of the museum close to the entrance, the space is topped with an inverted dome above a hologram machine in the form of a pyramid. Statues of famous architects decorate the space but Soane himself appears as a hologram, fusing technology with classic geometry.
Imagining an increased desire for preservation in 2065, Chong creates a second cycle of Soane Museum development that begins to transform part of the extension into an architectural workspace dedicated to repairing and creating architectural artefacts for preservation.
Chong feels his project resonates with the unprescribed way visitors experience the Soane Museum today. ‘People have to find their own way to see the collection and my extension is something like that as well. I provide space for people to explore rather than providing a single route.'