Geoff Shearcroft & Jonny Pugh

Unit 13: For ever, for everyone

The landscape team in the gardens of Holkham Hall, Chris Steele-Perkins, 2014

Unit brief

In the UK four million people are members of the National Trust whilst less than one million people are members of a political party. It appears that the preservation of historic places is considerably more popular than the creation of future societies.

Aiming to ‘preserve and protect historic places and spaces - for ever, for everyone’ the Trust evokes a perfect past, a collection of aesthetic experiences, fixed and maintained for the eternal enjoyment of a day-tripping public. All of these special places began life as a response to immediate needs and evolved over time to meet changing fortunes, tastes, technologies and myths. Much of their experiential delight is a result of their evolution and to prevent future changes that threaten to destroy the qualities that made them worthy of preservation. 

We will interrogate ‘for ever, for everyone’, in an attempt to define a meaningful approach to preservation, and subsequently development, in a democratic society. We shall visit National Trust properties within a 25 mile radius of London, collectively observing and recording the evolution of both their physical fabric and their social ecologies. Using contemporaneous methods of representation we will describe each property’s Perfect Past and Actual Now.

Individuals will develop new briefs for an Ideal Future, proposing new stories and uses for these special places. We will evolve appropriate architectures – new additions, buildings and landscapes - that are experientially delightful and socially participative. As a studio we will visit modern buildings in Milan and Paris that attempt to continue a pre-modern tradition, a useful provocation for formal investigations.  Faced with a great weight of preserved history we shall learn from visiting artists, curators and consultants, developing agile methodologies for proposing, prototyping and testing.


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture
Tutor Geoff Shearcroft
Jonny Pugh
Where Central House, 4th Floor Studios
When Monday and Thursday

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